Center for American Progress policy analyst Richard Caperton argues that the Department of Energy loan guarantee program is an “unmitigated success” in that it has helped finance 40 projects over 38 states, including the world’s biggest wind farm in Oregon.

The recent failure of Solyndra is a mark against the program, but Caperton says the company was less than two percent of the program’s portfolio.

But why should the federal government be in the business of guaranteeing loans for businesses in the first place?

Caperton told Think Tanked that it’s “appropriate” for the government to provide assistance “like loans or loan guarantees, for investments that are in the national interest and when the private market either will not provide the financing or will only do so on onerous terms that make the investments unworkable.”

Caperton also points out that energy companies are hardly the only ones benefitting from a loan guarantee program--businesses like Nike and Under Armor started with financial support from the Small Business Administration.