Two weeks ago (at NewsBusters ; at BizzyBlog ), yours truly pointed out how establishment press coverage of the bankruptcy of Massachusetts-based Evergreen Solar had emphasized its Bay State assistance, and only rarely brought up how it benefitted by being able to sell solar panels it otherwise would probably not have bothered to produce to projects benefitting from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("stimulus") dollars. On August 17, Larry Dignan of ZDNet, in an item published at CBSnews.com, tried to convince readers that Evergreen's failure was not indicative of an industry meltdown (bolds are mine): Story Continues Below Ad The bankruptcy of Evergreen Solar is causing some media consternation about the solar industry, but it's a stretch to imply that the company's demise is the sign of an industry meltdown. ... Evergreen Solar, like many businesses in an emerging industry, benefited from an initial surge, failed to adjust to market conditions and failed. Evergreen Solar may hang around after restructuring, but the company is akin to those early hard drive and PC companies...You can't have more than 300 companiesa stat via Solarbuzzplaying in the solar panel market and not expect a few to flop. In its most recent annual report, Evergreen Solar cited BP Solar, First Solar, Kyocera, Mitsubishi, Sanyo, Sharp, SunPower, Trina Solar and Yingli. While some of those competitors are Chinese, most of them aren't. Evergreen Solar wasn't run over just by China outfits, but companies from around the world too. Other reasons Evergreen Solar had to file for bankruptcy: It focused on off-size solar panels. Evergreen said in its annual report that historically, we have produced non-standard size rectangular wafers that were then processed into Evergreen Solar branded solar panels...The company made a move to focus on industry standard size wafers, but ran out of time and funding. Was it China that derailed Evergreen Solar or the fact it was Betamaxed? Evergreen Solar failed to raise enough cash when times were good. In the stock's glory days, Evergreen Solar could have raised cash via stock sales...Perhaps Evergreen could have used its inflated stock to acquire more companies and assets. It didn't buy its way into a company that could weather a storm...Evergreen Solar needed more capital, but you raise debt when you DON'T need it...All of this would be fine (with everyone but the investors, of course) if Evergreen's failure had been 100% investor-funded...The State of Massachusetts is out tens of millions of dollars, and the stimulus-funded projects containing Evergreen-produced panels may not be serviceable if something goes technically wrong. After today's news -- as well as the August 19 news that Spectrawatt, which received some funding from the state of New York, was also giving up the ghost -- someone should be asking Larry Dignan: "Are we at meltdown yet?" In case you missed it, direct stimulus showcase beneficiary Solyndra filed for bankruptcy this morning, idling 1,100 workers. The reasons identified in Darren Goode's Politico item somewhat echo those relating to Evergreen (bolds and numbered tags are mine): Regulatory and policy uncertainties in recent months created significant near-term excess supply and price erosion,  Solyndra President and CEO Brian Harrison said in a statement. Raising incremental capital in this environment was not possible...Solyndra's problems included uncertainty in governmental incentive programs in Europe and the decline in credit markets that finance solar systems, according to a company news release. The price of solar has dropped more than 40 percent this year, influenced heavily by highly subsidized Chinese firms. Clean energy advocates called Solyndra a casualty of a maturing solar industry. That's the reality of capitalism,  said Josh Freed, vice president for clean energy at Third Way. The solar industry is shaking out prices are dropping and consolidation is happening.  We're in a survival of the fittest or fleetest mode where companies are positioning themselves for a more competitive market. ... Obama visited the Fremont facility in May 2010 and touted it as an example of why the administration had funneled tens of billions of dollars in loan guarantees and overall stimulus help to clean-energy facilities. The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra, will always be America's businesses, Obama said at the time. Less than a year ago, we were standing on what was an empty lot. But through the Recovery Act, this company received a loan to expand its operations...The Energy Department in a blog post just before the company's noon announcement touted its loan guarantee programs while acknowledging that it does not always pick winners.  Notes:  -- I believe this translates to: "We were making stuff even when we had no idea of whether we could sell it."  -- That's a pretty brazen statement by Mr. Freed with little if any attachment to reality. Any resemblance between the solar "industry" and capitalism is purely accidental. Rush Limbaugh was much closer to the truth when he said on the air during the 2 p.m. hour that "There never was a real business there." Obama for America and advised the senior leadership of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Mr. Freed also was the communications director for the Obama Colorado caucus campaign and advised the Obama for Colorado campaign in the general election."  -- In another non-surprise, Mr. Freed, in his position at Third Way, "focuses on the policies and strategies needed to bring about clean energy reform and to address climate change." There is no evidence in Mr. Freed's stated background of anything resembling first-hand experience with capitalism.  -- This statement echoes Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's statement that he "would do it all over again" after Evergreen's bankruptcy filing...It's not the government's job to "invest" in "private" industry in the hope that they can "pick winners." Private investors, who of course often fail to pick winners, do a consistently better job of that, especially in the areas of due diligence (taking equity if necessary (more often than not it is, and in the form of a majority stake) and in structuring financing arrangements which put the founders' and managers' feet to the fire to produce results -- or get out of the way so investors can find people who can.