After opening two years ago to much fanfare and with the aid of $58 million in state grants, tax incentives, and loans, a Devens, Mass., solar panel manufacturing plant closed this week, putting 800 out of work. The company, Evergreen Solar, plans to continue operating its newly built plant in Wuhan, China, where production costs are cheaper, according to a Worcester, Mass., newspaper account.
Oddly enough, this past week, according to The New York Times, the new military spending bill requires the Defense Department to buy solar panels built in the U.S., which amounts to a subsidy of sorts. The reason for the “Buy American” requirement is, wait for it, the largest producer of solar panels in the world is China, which unfairly subsides its solar panel plants.
The Times says, “While the United States and Europe have focused on subsidizing buyers of solar panels, China has emphasized subsidies for solar panel manufacturers. It then exports virtually all of its panels to the United States and Europe, often helped by the American and European consumer subsidies.”
Meanwhile, a solar panel plant is being built in North Las Vegas with the help of nearly $6 million in federal stimulus funds. The Review-Journal reported in October California-based Amonix broke ground on a 214,000-square-foot plant on North Pecos Road. The plant will create 278 jobs, Amonix officials said.
The report said, “The plant will contribute $118 million in payroll and $12 million in taxes to the local economy in its first five years, according to the Nevada Development Authority.”
Here’s a TV account of the original announcement of the plant: