The sun sets on Evergreen Solar

People walk under solar panels.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: A Massachusetts renewable energy company spent a ton of money to building a high tech plant to make solar panels. But three years and $165 million later, the company says lights out.

From station WBUR in Boston, Curt Nickisch reports.


CURT NICKISCHEvergreen Solar says it has no choice to but to produce in China instead. And with the Massachusetts plant go 800 jobs. But worker Andrew Koenigsberg doesn't blame his bosses. He blames Congress.

ANDREW KOENIGSBERG: Even though the company's worked really hard to bring a product to market, and I've done my best to help out, it's just not a level playing field. China's pushing for alternative energy, and we're not.

Stephen Lacey analyzes the industry for RenewableEnergyWorld.com. He says the U.S. and Europe used to dominate solar. Not anymore.

STEPHEN LACEY: China's going to do for solar panels what it did for tennis shoes. And that is: drive down the costs, as rapidly as possible. And we as an industry need this.

Lacey sees a ray of hope, because the cheaper solar energy gets, the bigger the industry gets.

Steve Rhoades is the CEO of the solar company Satcon. He plans on adding 100 positions over two years in Boston.

STEVE RHOADES: It's our corporate headquarters, so we're doing all of our R&D, we're doing all our engineering.

Just not manufacturing, that was never the plan. Massachusetts taxpayers wish they'd had a better plan. They gave Evergreen Solar $58 million to build its plant. Now they may only get $3 million back.

In Boston, I'm Curt Nickisch, for Marketplace.

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