Evergreen Solar Inc., a manufacturer of String Ribbon solar power products with proprietary silicon wafer technology, plans to shut down operations at its Devens, Mass., manufacturing facility during the first quarter of this year. According to the company, this action is intended to better position the company to pursue its industry-standard size wafer strategy and preserve its liquidity.
‘While overall demand for solar may increase, we expect that significant capacity expansions in low-cost manufacturing regions – combined with potential adverse changes in government subsidies in several markets in Europe – will likely result in continuing pressure on selling prices throughout 2011,’ explains Michael El-Hillow, president and CEO. ‘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.
‘While the United States and other western industrial economies are beneficiaries of rapidly declining installation costs of solar energy, we expect the United States will continue to be at a disadvantage from a manufacturing standpoint,’ he continues. ‘Although production costs at our Devens facility have steadily decreased, and are now below originally planned levels and lower than most western manufacturers, they are still much higher than those of our low-cost competitors in China.’
Evergreen Solar says it will continue to operate its high temperature filament plant in Midland, Mich., and its wafer facility in Wuhan, China. With approximately 75 MW of installed wafer capacity in Wuhan, the company will continue to supply its outsourcing partner with wafers for conversion into Evergreen Solar branded solar panels.
Development activities associated with the company's industry-standard-size String Ribbon wafer have progressed substantially in the second half of 2010, resulting in the production of more than 60,000 wafers manufactured using modified existing quad ribbon furnaces.
SOURCE: Evergreen Solar