Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Thursday he doesn’t think taxpayers will recover much of their $528 million loan to bankrupt solar firm Solyndra, calling the situation “extremely unfortunate” while continuing to defend his actions to prop up the company before its failure.

Chu testified Thursday for the first time before the House committee investigating the Solyndra loan. He insisted that the decision in late 2009 to approve the loan guarantee was his own and “absolutely was made only on the merits.” He said it was not influenced by political considerations.

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