The Green Ecomomy, Evergreen Solar, what can we learn?

Here’s a great article to study, I don’t suggest I have the answers, but I certainly do have Questions.

I’m sure every tax payer in Mass is proud to have invested his money in such a noble cause, whether it was a loser or not, and paying the additional taxes is just the price of pioneering a new technology right?

I’m sure the decision makers in Mass knew Evergreen Management must be bright as well, I mean after all, they were smart enough to jump on the green band wagon, and they developed this new technology to make silicon go further.

I called a friend last night who has worked on some of the largest solar installs in the world, he is presently  working on a 60KW project.  At one time, he also sold  individual panels, controllers, inverters, and more.  So I value his opinion. He shared that it appeared that  Evergreen was a  last choice in every market segment of solar panel investment whether large or small. Perhaps part of the problem is the panels are considerably larger than the competitor’s panels, in other words, it takes more area to make a watt of power output.  They are large enough to force a person to pay for the far higher truck shipping VS using UPS or Fedex to deliver the panels.  There are other considerations, one might be looking at  the amount of ‘sail’ area (square feet of panels) a tracker can handle, and he knows trackers are expensive, so best to get the maximum power up on each  tracker.  Perhaps others have a limited  amount of space on a southern exposure, and they wanted to maximize the use of that space, and opted for the smaller panels of a proven technology, and a lower overall cost per watt after considering shipping?

If these concerns are factual, did the elected officials of Mass have this information before they voted on giving $58 million dollars of tax payer money to Evergreen?  Were they informed at all, or did they vote on the color green alone?

As for the management of Evergreen, did they ever consider the cost of labor, and the huge tax load they would pay in Mass, and is it reasonable to think you could compete in such a market with all the handicaps? 

Where ever we look, we see people excited about the color green.  Some believe it’s best that we let the individual investors make the choice as to where their money goes, versus having some uninformed elected official make it for us.

In Washington State, we have a Governor who is all excited about  Wind Power, the State is facing serious financial difficulties, but she can’t help herself.  She has over ruled decisions as to where wind farms will be located, and it one case she (or elected government officials)  delivered a $5 Million grant to an entity setting up some wind turbines near our coast line.  Wind Turbines are not without their problems, and our coast line produces some very intense and not so predictable gusts, there are more than 100 square miles of trees laying flat near our coast line, and no one I know who would guarantee a return on investment from Windpower in that area.

Is it right that our elected officials force us to invest in these things?  We look on as Illinois delivers the news that state income taxes are now 66% higher.  For those who understand cause and effect, we know that living in that State has just become far less attractive. It means that companies who were considering Illinois might go elsewhere, it means that individuals might move out of state as well. All of this has a bearing  on your home value, for those who live just across the state line from Illinois, you likely were handed a gift in appreciating home values.

If you have children, I’m sure some of them think Glen Beck is crazy. At this point, I think he might be on to some thing. It might be that our elected officials are the real nuts.. they now vote on stuff they don’t read, they think anything painted green is good, and they think they are wise enough to pick the winners for taxpayers in complex technologies… how nuts is that, and was it ever their job to pick the winners and losers in a technology race?

George B.

This entry was posted in The New Green Movement and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Green Ecomomy, Evergreen Solar, what can we learn?

  1. Robert Ruggiero says:

    Hi George, I do have to agree with your friend. Price wise they could not compete. Now as far as Mass solar incentives I bit the bullet and Evergreen would not work with the micro inverters I wanted to run so we went with Canadian Solar and micro inverters. The State Incentives knocked off 7000 from our upfront cost so for just under 14k out of pocket before Federal and State Tax breaks we have a 3680 watt system. It generated 2.6Mwh from June to Dec 31 and we can sell these s-recs here in Mass for around 500 bucks currently so 1300 so far accrued. All in all cash flow positive from day 1 thanks to Mass Incentives. I wish they had used the Evergreen money for standard tech solar instead of thin film which isn’t competitive at this time.

    • George B. says:

      Hi Robert,
      Your post here is valuable, and certainly helps others acess reality. Last night’s conversation with my trusted Solar man set me straight on the micro inverters, seems they are VERY popular, and I find this counter intuitive when the return on investment period is long. I think the more complex an element is, the more likely it is to fail, and one could find it is no longer supported half way through your return on investment period. I like Kiss, and I like the idea of having elements with a higher probability of failure on the ground, and not so integrated. BUT who can argue with a demand that the manufacturer can’t keep up with, and the fact that people who study this far more than myself seem to make this product their first choice!

      At the end of the day, I think we all recognize that there are so many subsidies that have ALTERED the market, that few of us can see the realities in Solar. Example, the Germans and their near 100% subsidy, that really messed with supply and demand and made winners and losers depending on an individual’s perspective. Some manufacturers might have been enticed into the market, only to see demand fall off in a critical period, and part of an artificial stimulus. We’ll see how the Mass tax payers fair, I expect to see a lot of them jump ship, and flee to other States where the burden is less to carry. Only time will tell if Mass remains solvent. Some think such a mention is fear mongering. I’m not so sure the addcits running Mass can break their habits of spendig money they don’t have, and whether they can continue to pay their obligations. But.. I realize I ‘know’ less everyday, only the future will tell us.

  2. bob g says:


    i think your assessment is spot on, (as usual).

    it would seem that anytime we allow our political leaders to make decisions on just about anything, we are in trouble.

    decisions that are related to technical issues are among the worst in my opinion.

    we all know of countless examples of “lets vote on stuff we haven’t read” but there is also lots of stuff that gets slipped in because it “sounds” green, or “feels” good, or “advances” some agenda somewhere.

    its seems as though critical thinking skills have a genetic component, and obviously the drinking water in washington dc (and state houses) destroys that gene.

    that is assuming of course the politicians had the gene to start with, and that seems questionable or certainly debatable.

    bob g

    • George B. says:

      Citizens seem to be unaware that these speculative investments their elected officials make, are made on their behalf! They owe the money, and their home, their future income, and other possessions are little different than collateral against that loan. What makes this situation most dangerous is the new mentality that the FEDs are there to rescue every state by underwriting their debt on the backs of all American Citizens. In other words, those States who squander the public treasury and hand out stipends in return for votes do so with the thought that all Americans will be called on to tender their bad debts. California, Illinois, Mass, and others are counting on you to help pay off their debts. And still we have an ever growing number of citizens that think the FEDs should have responsibility for every debt. Smarter people know the FED is ‘all tax payers’.

      Somewhere along the line, people have forgotten or never learned that these decision makers do little more than place the debt on our backs.
      And now we have the Chevy Volt… touted as a ‘people’s car’, but it has a $40,000 base price tag, and might cost $50,000 by the time you pay the taxes and get a few amenities, but government has a solution to lower the price! A subsidy! It’s really no different than forcing you to invest in the car whether you think it’s good idea or not. It’s no different than Mass investing in a Solar Panel Company whose products didn’t seem to have a market. A subsidy is only necessary when there is a lack of demand for the product.

      So as the Chevy Volt is being touted ‘car of the year’, as those who are giddy over Electric vehicles announce it’s about time that the oils companies lost their stranglehold on EVs. Those of us who know the truth as to “Who killed the Electric Car.” Look on in amazement. It’s been the consumers all along, they’ve never seen the value. The cure apparently is to FORCE consumption through subsidies, apparently that’s the American way. Remember the old days, when products were tested by the market? When Supply and demand sorted out the good and not so good….

Leave a Reply