It has been awhile since I have gone on about good jobs at a good wage. Have no fear, here I go.
No big surprise here. Being that we were at the opening of the plant and are connected with the business, we saw hope in the industry in the north east. In some respects the decline of the industry has been because of the empty pocketbooks and the government not demanding that all solar be manufactured in the country in order to receive rebates. In the past two years the solar industry has been supported mostly by government money and government projects. Much of the manufacturing, sad as it is, is still best done overseas because it is cheaper. The projects that are quoted in the state are done so on a state prevailing wage mandate with little room for real competition to come into play. So we see still another manufacturing facility to leave and solar soon to be dimmed in Massachusetts in spite of or because of state regulations, taxes, and Governor Deval Patrick's speeches and photo opps at the plant.
Evergreen Solar Inc. said it will close a Massachusetts plant in the current quarter, saying while overall solar demand is strong, the U.S. makers in the field are at a manufacturing disadvantage.
As a result of the closure, Evergreen will record a noncash charge of about $340 million to write off existing building, facilities and equipment. Additional charges related to repayments of various contracts may be required, the company warned.
Evergreen, which intends to record the charges in the fourth quarter and first quarter, also expects to incur $15 million of costs associated with employee severance and other costs required with closing the facility. Evergreen, which had an agreement with the Massachusetts government to help fund the Devens facility, said 800 employees would be affected by the closing.
A small player in the solar sector, Evergreen announced in November it was shifting its assembly of solar panels from Devens to China in a cost-cutting effort. At the time, it said the Devens facility would continue to make solar wafers and cells.
But on Tuesday, President and Chief Executive Michael El-Hillow said solar manufacturers in China have received "considerable government and financial support," and, together with their low manufacturing costs, have become price leaders within the industry.