Evergreen shutting down its Devens, MA plant is no surprise to anyone who has been watching the company over the last year. The company has been gradually shifting the string wafer manufacturing of its Wuhan plant.
Michael El-Hillow, Evergreen CEO, is citing low manufacturing costs and Chinese government subsidies as the two big reasons why the company has to shift its string ribbon manufacturing to China.
Evergreen Solar has an agreement with Jiawei Solar in Wuhan. Evergreen manufactures string ribbon wafers using its quad furnaces at a leased facility being built on Jiawei’s Wuhan campus. Jiawei will process the string ribbon wafers into Evergreen Solar-branded panels on a subcontract basis.
Evergreen reimburses Jiawei for its cell and panel conversion costs, plus a subcontractor fee. The actual price paid to Jiawei is negotiated annually. The Wuhan government provides, or coordinate with other Chinese governmental agencies, various incentives, including guarantees necessary to obtain third-party bank or other financing.
Initial capacity is expected to be approximately 100 MW and the parties intend to expand production capacity to approximately 500 MW by 2012, the timing and extent of which will be determined in 2010.