Major investors in SolarReserve include US Renewables Group, Good Energies and Citigroup. Financial records listed Argonaut’s investment in the company in 2009 as worth $6.8 million.
A spokesman for Kaiser declined comment but confirmed that Argonaut had “a small ownership position” in SolarReserve. Kaiser has said he played no role in helping Solyndra.
Smith acknowledged that the questions surrounding Solyndra have put his company in an uncomfortable spotlight. “People are scouring our staff lists, looking for parking tickets. It’s not good for business,” he said.
Even in light of that downside, the Energy Department’s backing offers the opportunity to push forward with an important project, he said.
“It’s a huge milestone for us and the technology,” Smith said. “We’re really excited about it.”
The Department of Energy closed four deals Friday worth $4.7 billion as the clock ticked down to a midnight deadline to finalize loans in a controversial program causing political problems for the White House.
●A $1.2 billion loan guarantee for SunPower to build its California Valley Solar Ranch, a utility-scale solar project that will use single-axis trackers controlled by wireless devices to tilt modules to absorb the most sunlight.
●A $1.4 billion loan guarantee for Project Amp, a rooftop solar-generation project that will support the installation of about 752 megawatts of photovoltaic solar panels across approximately 750 rooftops owned and managed by Prologis. NRG Energy is the lead investor for the first phase of installations.
●A $646 million loan guarantee to Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 in Los Angeles County, a thin-film solar-generation project recently acquired by Exelon. The project will feature inverters with voltage regulation and monitoring technologies that are new to the U.S. market. The inverters increase reliability of large-scale solar-power plants. Antelope Valley gets support from a power-purchase agreement to sell the power it will generate to Pacific Gas & Electric.
●$1.5 billion in partial guarantee
to support two phases of the Desert Sunlight project, which is slated to be one of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic plants and will be located on federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Riverside County, Calif. Phase I will generate 300 megawatts of power, which will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric; Phase II will generate 250 megawatts of power, which will be sold to Southern California Edison.
Staff writer Jerry Markon and staff researcher Alice Crites contributed to this report.