2 of 5
BACKNEXT
Solyndra
Solyndra
Solyndra's solar panels are installed on roofs, and their cylindrical shape helps bring in more refracted light than flat panels.
Investment: $1.6 billion in venture capital, private equity and loans

Solar panel developers have soaked up billions in venture capital over the past few years, but Solyndra has gotten by far the largest investment.

The Fremont, Calif., startup makes cylindrical solar panels rather than the traditional flat ones, which the company says makes its panels more efficient than competitors'. By picking up more refracted light, Solyndra's panels are intended to give customers more bang for their buck.

Solyndra got a $535 million government loan in March 2009, backed by a U.S. Department of Energy program aimed at fostering domestic clean energy development. That led to visits from President Obama and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Investors have been enthusiastic, showering the company with more than $500 million in venture capital, according to the National Venture Capital Association. Solar research firm GTM Research estimates that Solyndra's total private investment is around $1.1 billion. Like most solar companies, Solyndra benefitted from the big solar investment boom in 2008 when gas prices soared -- but unlike its competitors, its high profile has allowed it to continue to getting funding in the two years since.

But there are plenty of warning signs surrounding the venture. Solyndra filed in December for an initial public offering, but two months ago it cancelled those plans. It's far from profitable and burning through cash: Solyndra is losing money on every solar panel it sells, and its cost of production is higher than most of its competitors'.

Some analysts think the once red-hot venture's star is dimming.

"Solyndra is a high-risk play, and I'm not sure that the risk/reward pays off," says Shyam Mehta, senior solar analyst at GTM Research. "There's nothing out of the ordinary about its earnings growth potential, nor is it superior to other technologies in terms of cost efficiency."

NEXT: Watson

Last updated August 26 2010: 12:40 PM ET
More Galleries
These 20 antique guns could fetch big bucks Morphy Auctions in Pennsylvania is putting nearly 1,000 old guns on the block. Here are just a few. More
15 execs who make more than their CEOs Sure, corporate chiefs' pay often is eye-poppingly high. But at some companies, executives lower down the ladder quietly out-earned their CEO bosses. More
Novelty gifts for people with money to burn For those who've got the cash, these holiday gifts can really make a statement. More

Special Offer

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.