FREMONT, Calif. — FBI agents executed search warrants Thursday at the headquarters of California solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which received more than $500 million in federal loan guarantees before filing for bankruptcy last week.
Agents raided the company's headquarters in Fremont as part of an investigation with the Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General into the manufacturer once touted by President Barack Obama as a beneficiary of economic stimulus, according to FBI spokeswoman Julianne Sohn.
Sohn said she could not provide details about the investigation, including what agents were gathering in the company's offices as the search continued hours after the early morning raid. Agents in FBI jackets swarmed buildings on the company's campus, bringing in collapsed cardboard boxes.
Solyndra spokesman Dave Miller said agents were collecting documents but the company did not know the reason for the search. Company executives were on the premises but were not likely to make a statement Thursday, he said.
"It certainly was a shock this morning to arrive and see the FBI here," he said.
The assumption was that the search was related to the loan guarantees, Miller said. Those loan guarantees — part of the $862 billion economic stimulus package that Congress passed in 2009 — have for months been the subject of a probe by Republicans.
Thursday's raid by federal agents came about a week after Solyndra's announcement that it was filing for bankruptcy and laying off 1,100 workers.
Solyndra, like other companies in the nation's solar energy industry, faced declining prices for solar panels, in part because of heavy competition from Chinese companies.
The bankruptcy announcement was a sharp departure for a company that been held up as the model for government investment in green technology.