Feds execute search warrants at Calif. solar firm

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FREMONT, Calif. (AP) ? FBI agents executed search warrants on Thursday at the headquarters of California solar firm Solyndra, which received a $535 million loan from the federal government before filing for bankruptcy last week.

Agents executed multiple search warrants at the company’s headquarters in Fremont as part of an investigation with the Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General, according to FBI spokesman Peter Lee. Lee said he could not provide details about the investigation.

Solyndra is a solar-panel manufacturer once touted by President Barack Obama as a beneficiary of his administration’s economic policies. It announced last week that it was laying off 1,100 workers and filing for bankruptcy.

The company was held up as the model for government investment in green technology. In addition to the $535 million loan guarantee, it received visits from the president and other state and federal officials.

It filed bankruptcy amid hard times in the nation’s solar industry. The price for solar panels has tanked, in part because of heavy competition from Chinese companies, dropping by about 42 percent this year.

Republicans have been looking into the Solyndra loan for months. The House Energy and Commerce Committee subpoenaed documents relating to the loan from the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The company is also being sued by workers who were abruptly laid off after last week’s announcement.