Part I yesterday described Evergreen Solar Inc.’s recent bankruptcy protection filing, which has left Massachusetts holding the bag for tens of millions of dollars in tax benefits and subsidies for a Devens, MA solar panel factory. Massachusetts wanted to be a true believer, and the promise of 800 jobs in a recession was too good to pass up even if the risks were high.
For politicians looking for good press this was a great opportunity—until reality hit the fan. So what lessons does this failed ‘green’ energy experiment impart for other political jurisdictions eager to create jobs? I offer five.
1. Being green does not mean being sustainable.
Evergreen Solar expanded just as the solar market was reeling from feed-in-tariff (FiT) subsidy cuts in Spain and later Germany, the then hottest markets in the world.…
Earlier this month, Evergreen Solar Inc. filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, claiming the lower costs of Chinese competitors drove it to restructure. The Massachusetts Economic Assistance Coordinating Council, the Commonwealth board charged with overseeing MassDevelopment tax breaks to business, had previously voted May19 to end the 20-year, $15 million property tax break and terminate the $7.5 million in state tax credits for Evergreen, two months after the company shut its state-aided manufacturing plant in Devens, Massachusetts built and eliminated 800 jobs.
Adding insult to injury, Evergreen borrowed money to build a new solar manufacturing plant in China.
‘Clean-Energy’ Investments Up, but Performance Lags
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, new global investment in the clean energy sector (including solar) was up 27% to $41.7 billion in Q2:2011 from the prior quarter–and 22% higher than a year ago.…