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Mr. Romney made another questionable claim, contending that half of companies receiving a piece of that $90 billion have gone out of business. While several — including the well-chronicled Solyndra, which went bankrupt after receiving a federal loan of more than $500 million — have gone belly-up, the failure rate is nowhere close to the half Mr. Romney claimed.

But many do remain in dire financial straits and are unlikely to survive without substantial government support, said Dan Kish of the American Energy Alliance.

“Half of them haven’t failed, but the number that look as though they’re going to fail in light of what the market is doing and what their sales numbers are — it’s going to be a huge loss,” he said. “The general view is that wind and solar are great, until [the public] finds out what it costs and what the problems are. They haven’t heard that.”