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Director leaves DOE’s Loan Programs Office

Scrutinized for Solyndra’s loan guarantee approval, Jonathan Silver will serve his last day as Executive Director of the DOE’s Loan Programs Office today.

Previously a venture capitalist, Silver started at Loan Programs Office in November 2009. Silver has been under intense scrutiny from the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee as part of an investigation into Solyndra’s bankruptcy.

Jonathan Silver Photo Credit: DOE Loan Programs Office

Although the original loan guarantee was made before his arrival, Silver was in charge when, as Solyndra’s funds ran dry in February, the government agreed to restructure the debt.

However, according to the Washington Post, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that Silver had planned to step down at the end of the fiscal year, since the available funds had been allocated.

“Under his [Silver’s] leadership, the loan program has demonstrated considerable success, with a broad portfolio of investments that will help American companies compete in the global clean energy market,” said Chu.

The Loan Programs Office invested in a variety of renewable energy projects as well as advanced automotive technologies. The Section 1705 program for clean energy ended last Friday, and the agency finalized $4.7 billion in loan guarantees that day.

Meanwhile, at a press conference before the news of Silver’s resignation broke, President Obama said that “the overall portfolio has been successful.”

President Obama commented on the decision-making process at Silver’s Loan Programs Office, saying he had “confidence that the decisions were made based on what would be good for the American economy and the American people and putting people back to work.”

But these statements of support from the Obama administration seem not to have been enough to keep Jonathan Silver at the DOE. He will now join D.C. clean energy think tank Third Way as a Visiting Fellow.

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