The President toured Solyndra’s Fab 1 manufacturing facility with ceo Chris Gronet and executive vp Ben Bierman before making a televised speech on energy policy at Solyndra’s Fab 2 construction site - which the company says has the potential to grow manufacturing capacity by around 460 MW when fully operational.
In a speech that many in the industry watched for news of potential clues to future policy moves, Obama spoke of the "need" for alternative energy. He also talked of solar as an economic reality. In his words to employees and the solar industry, “as you fill orders for solar panels to ship around the world, you’re demonstrating that the promise of clean energy isn’t just an article of faith - not anymore. It’s not some abstract possibility for science fiction movies or a distant future - 10 years down the road or 20 years down the road. It’s happening right now. The future is here.”
He also made direct reference to the need for the USA to compete on a global footing in the renewable energy marketplace: "Around the world, from China to Germany, our competitors are waging a historic effort to lead in developing new energy technologies. There are factories like this being built in China, factories like this being built in Germany. Nobody is playing for second place. These countries recognise that the nation that leads the clean energy economy is likely to lead the global economy. And if we fail to recognize that same imperative, we risk falling behind".
Obama added that he still hoped to try and pass "comprehensive" energy and climate legislation this year, to "fully unleash the potential for jobs and growth in this sector".