Energy Secretary Steven Chu testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on Capitol Hill November 17, 2011 in Washington, DC.
Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON - Energy Secretary Steven Chu is stepping down.
The Energy Department said Friday Chu has offered his resignation to President Barack Obama. Chu won a Nobel Prize in physics but came under questioning for his handling of a solar energy loan.
Chu is a former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. He drew fire from Republicans who criticized his handling of a $528 million federal loan to solar panel maker Solyndra, which later went bankrupt, laying off its 1,100 workers.
The White House said Chu retained Obama's confidence, but Chu was widely expected to leave following Obama's re-election last fall.
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