Solyndra Factory Had Disney-Singing Robots, Spas

Former employees speak with local paper and reveal some of the extravagance at the facility

By Sajid Farooq
|  Thursday, Sep 29, 2011  |  Updated 5:00 PM PDT
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Solyndra Had Disney-Singing Robots, Spas

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A new report says reveals what was inside Solyndra's high-tech factory in Fremont.

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As the Obama administration looks to deepen its ties with the Silicon Valley, one connection that may turn out to be a thorn in its side delivered some more negative PR this week.

A new report says that the shiny new Solyndra building along Interstate 880 in Fremont was equipped with perks that would make even celebrities blush.

Earlier this month FBI agents raided Solyndra's campus after the company declared for bankruptcy and abruptly laid off 1,100 employees despite being offered about $530 million in low cost loan guarantees by the Department of Energy.

Former employees told the San Francisco Chronicle that the $733 million, 300,000-square-foot factory built in 2009 had spa-like showers, robots that whistled Disney tunes and glass-walled conference rooms.

"The new building is like the Taj Mahal," John Pierce, a facilities manager at Solyndra, told the paper.

The factory is now closed.

Last week House lawmakers summoned Solyndra's executives to Washington to explain themselves and to explain where the money went.

But on the advice of their attorneys, the executives invoked their Fifth Amendment protections and declined to answer questions. 

President Barack Obama visited the facility in May 2010 and the time said "it is just a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism and the fact that we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best technology in the world, and most importantly the best workers in the world. And you guys all represent that. "

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