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Failed 'Green Tech' Company Abandons $450M Plant


"Evergreen Solar Inc. said it has failed to find a buyer for its Devens, Mass., plant and plans to walk away from the facility, which was launched with some $50 million in state aid," the The Wall Street Journal’s reports.

In case you don't remember, Evergreen Solar Inc. is the Massachusetts-based “green tech” company that filed for bankruptcy last August -- even after receiving million in state aid.

Not long after the "green tech" company filed for bankruptcy, it became painfully obvious that no one was interested in buying its million dollar plant. So in a desperate bid to avoid paying $543,000 property taxes, the company begged for permission to abandon the plant.

“Evergreen has a deal with its landlord, Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, to get out of the ground lease for the facility, according to papers filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del,” The Wall Street Journal’s Peg Brickley writes. “The plant was shut down last year and 800 jobs were cut as Evergreen struggled to survive.”

Overall, the plant cost about $450 million to build just five years ago. Oh, and this is probably important to note: “the development authority was one of the Massachusetts state agencies that pitched in to get Evergreen Solar going.”

During the final stages of its planned bankruptcy liquidation, Evergreen cut deals with some of its creditors to “share the pain of its demise.”

“Judge Mary Walrath signed off last week on a stipulation under which secured creditors who expect to be out more than $100 million at the end of the bankruptcy proceedings agreed to allow general unsecured creditors to get at least a penny on the dollar recovery out of Evergreen's Chapter 11 case,” Brickley writes.

The Journal continues:

If the scenario set out in court filings plays out, Evergreen's ultimate fate will be similar to that of Solyndra LLC, the California maker of solar-power technology that shut its pricey new plant, filed for bankruptcy and struggled to find a buyer in a market glutted with the departures of failed solar-power-equipment makers.

Because it took more than $500 million in federal loans and one of its major backers was a fund-raiser for President Barack Obama, Solyndra became the focus of a Republican-led congressional investigation aimed at finding a political taint on its financing.

Even though the company sold its technology to a Hong Kong joint venture when it filed for bankruptcy, it failed to raise enough cash to help pay off its mounting debts.

In fact, a claim for payment in the Lehman Bros. bankruptcy case is actually worth more than all the technology that powered Evergreen Solar Inc.

How does that work?

“Bondholders ‘credit bid’ $21.5 million for the Lehman claim, meaning they offered to cancel that much of the debt Evergreen owed them,” the Journal explains.

“Evergreen's solar-power technology sold for less than $10 million. Others bits and pieces are still being sold, including equipment at the Devens plant. But the plant itself hasn't sold despite more than a year of marketing.”

Is it too early to say that maybe, just maybe, the market isn't ready (or interested) in "green technology" just yet?

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