On the tail of this week’s surprise announcement that Evergreen Solar is shuttering it’s solar panel facility in Devens, MA, and laying off 800 employees, comes another surprise announcement A pilot project to create standard size wafers in Marlborough, MA.
Evergreen, which also makes solar cells and panels, has acknowledged that its unique solar power technology has always been its “string ribbon” wafer, which the company says is lower-cost than others on the market. But the Evergreen wafers are not the industry standard size, so the company hasn’t found demand for the product.
Now, the company says it’s developing a standard-sized wafer with the same cost benefits of its current wafer — a cost savings of 40 percent compared to conventional processes.
So basically, it’s panels out, wafers in. Let’s hope the lack of subsidies for wafer production in the US doesn’t have the same effect as the lack of subsidies for panels.
No word on how many, if any, of those 800 jobs will be retained for this new project.