Solyndra’s failure cast a shadow across the government loan program that supported them. However that program has had a variety of success stories and since it is a loan guarantee program much of the reported dollar amount of the program will never be born by the tax payers. The guarantees kick in only for the projects that fail. Otherwise a third party such as a bank loans the money and is paid back. The program is risk reduction for the financiers to encourage development in an industry that is considered strategically and economically important to the country. The Chinese have been taking a page from our playbook and have created the worlds leading solar industry in less than a decade!
UPDATE: Feb 9, 2015: The program worked –
And again, Tesla has demonstrated that government loan programs and government loan guarantee programs can be used to good effect. To point to Solyndra and suggest it is proof that government NEVER works is like pointing to Enron, Worldcom or AIG and saying capitalism Never works. In each case we are provided with cautionary tales that inform us of mistakes not to repeat. Neither case, however, suggests that the fundamental approaches are not viable.