By Boston Business Journal

The Massachusetts economic development chief signaled the state may seek even more money from Evergreen Solar Inc. (Nasdaq:ESLRD) than previously estimated.

The Marlborough, Mass.-based solar power technologies company plans to cut 800 of its 925 Massachusetts jobs and close its factory at Devens, Mass., by the end of March. Direct state funding to the company in connection with the opening of the plant was about $30 million, said economic development secretary Greg Bialecki during WGBH⿿s ⿿Greater Boston⿝ Tuesday.

⿿We think we will get more than half of that back,⿝ he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Bialecki had said he would meet with legislative leaders to explore options to recoup $13 million from Evergreen.

Evergreen has said it only owes $3 million to $4 million to the state because it had over-achieved on its job creation promises. In an e-mail statement Tuesday, spokesman Chris Lawson said only that the company ⿿is cooperating with state officials to finalize what monies need to be paid back to the Commonwealth under the terms of our agreement.⿝

⿿We expect to fully meet our agreed upon responsibilities,⿝ Lawson wrote.

On ⿿Greater Boston,⿝ Bialecki said the $58 million figure typically cited for the Evergreen funding package includes ⿿benefits that they would have earned over 20 years, and they⿿re never going to earn.⿝

⿿Only a fraction of that number was actually ever paid to the company,⿝ he said.

Also included in the state package were infrastructure improvements at Devens and workforce training, which ⿿really does benefit the state⿝ and can⿿t be re-couped from Evergreen, Bialecki said.

Evergreen makes solar wafers, cells and panels at its Devens factory, but said the factory is no longer sustainable due to stiff competition from Chinese manufacturers. The company opened its own wafer factory last year in Wuhan, China, and said it now plans to transition into becoming a supplier of solar wafers to other panel makers.

Copyright 2011 American City Business Journals

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