Is Evergreen Solar Dying?
January 14, 2011
A 20 year warranty sounds pretty good, but what if the company that gives you the warranty is no longer around? That is what many consumers are wondering about the solar modules brought to them by Evergreen Solar. No one has written off Evergreen Solar quite yet, but the news from the company is not altogether encouraging.
Evergreen Solar announced earlier this week plans to shut down its manufacturing plant in Devens, Massachusetts, according to a report published on Reuters. The closure of the factory and the move of manufacturing operations to China will allow Evergreen to compete with China based manufacturers, according to the article. The loss of 800 jobs in the US in favor of Chinese operations will not do much to bolster the argument that support of the solar industry will create new jobs in the United States.
As reported in the Boston Globe, the closure of the Massachusetts factory is a huge setback for the state's governor, who had made the plant a signature part of his administration. As the newspaper reported, "There's no way to sugar-coat the decision this week by Evergreen Solar to close its heavily subsidized manufacturing plant at Devens. It's a huge setback for the 800 people who work there. But it's also an expensive mess for Patrick."
Stock in Evergreen Solar is down 70% in the last 12 months, and 12% just since the New Year.
The troubles of Evergreen Solar are not necessarily reflective of a trend. As pointed out by The Solar Home & Business Journal, while Evergreen is closing its plant in Massachusetts, other companies are opening three new solar manufacturing plants around the country. According to the article, these new manufacturing plants are located in three separate states, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Wisconsin--and all of the new manufacturing plants will be producing thin-film solar modules.