A major investor in Solyndra LLC was instrumental in helping the troubled solar-power firm compete for a potentially lucrative U.S. Navy deal, a previously unreported connection that will likely fuel controversy surrounding the company.
Solyndra was promoted to the Navy by RockPort Capital, one of the firm’s largest investors and board members, which has a seat on a Pentagon panel that helps the government find emerging technologies.
RockPort recommended Solyndra to the military, along with four other companies. In the end, the negotiations for Solyndra’s inclusion in a $1 million pilot program fell apart when the Navy learned about the company’s pending bankruptcy filing.
The role of RockPort Capital is a new twist in the Solyndra tale, which has focused largely on whether another Solyndra investor, the family foundation of billionaire George Kaiser, helped the firm secure a $535 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. There is no evidence linking the loan guarantee to Mr. Kaiser, who was a significant donor to President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.
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