On August 15, 2011, Evergreen Solar (“Evergreen”), filed chapter 11 petitions for Bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. According to the Declaration of Evergreen’s CEO, Michael El-Hillow (the “Declaration” or “Decl.”), filed in support of its bankruptcy petitions, Evergreen incorporated in Delaware in 1994 and manufactures “multi-cystalline silicon wafers.” The company uses its silicon wafers in the production of photovoltaic solar cells, which in turn are installed in solar panels under the Evergreen trade name. Decl. at 3.
Solar panels are the primary source of revenue for Evergreen. In 1997, the company began selling solar panels in Europe. Evergreen continues to focus its sales on European consumers as governments in Europe traditionally subsidize consumer purchases of solar equipment. To get its product to market, Evergreen sells through distributors, system integrators and other resellers that incorporate the company’s product into an integrated system. Decl. at 4.
In 2007, Evergreen began construction on a manufacturing facility in Devens, Massachusetts. In 2010, Evergreen began production in its facility in Wuhan, China. Aside from the Massachusetts and Chinese facilities, Evergreen also manufactures components for its solar panels at a facility in Midland, Michigan. Earlier this year, Evergreen closed the Devens, Massachusetts facility and plans to stop production at the Michigan facility as well. Decl. at 5.
Evergreen attributes its bankruptcy filing to “an intensely competitive and rapidly evolving” solar power market. Decl. at 12. Further, Evergreen must compete with the Chinese solar industry – an industry it views as highly subsidized, yet unencumbered by high labor costs. Prices in the solar industry dropped considerably in 2010 and 2011 due to both overcapacity and a general decline in demand. Decl. at 13.
Through bankruptcy, Evergreen hopes to market and sell substantially all of its assets. Certain of the company’s noteholders have agreed to a section 363 sale of assets wherein the noteholders will seek to credit bid for the Evergreen’s assets. Decl. at 17. Through the auction process, the sale of Evergreen would be subject to higher and better offers of third parties, subject to the approval of the Bankruptcy Court. Decl. at 17.
The Evergreen bankruptcy is before the Honorable Mary F. Walrath. Evergreen’s bankruptcy counsel is Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP.