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Patrick Administration Defends Evergreen Aid, Seeks To Recoup $13M

The Patrick administration is defending millions of dollars of economic incentives and tax breaks granted to Evergreen Solar Inc., just one week after the company announced it's pulling out of Massachusetts.

Evergreen will manufacture solar panels in China, instead of at a plant in Devens. The move will result in about 800 layoffs at the local plant.

Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki says the overall package to Evergreen was worth roughly $31 million — less than the reported $58 million — including $21 million in cash grants and $7.5 million in tax credits.

While he said the state would look carefully before making such an arrangement again, Bialecki said the deal helped jump-start the state's clean energy sector.

"This really wasn't an investment in Evergreen Solar as it was an investment in the clean energy sector," Bialecki said. "And I think if you look at the cost and benefits of that you have to add all that up.

"I still think, in hindsight, that it was a good idea," Bialecki said of the investment in Evergreen, although he conceded it didn't turn out as the state had hoped.

Bialecki expects the state can get about $13 million back from its Evergreen investment.

The $13 million the state expects to recover include a $7.5 million investment tax credit that was never claimed by Evergreen, $3 million for the failure to create the number of jobs as promised and $2.7 million for closing the plant early and negating the dollar a year lease, he said.

Earlier:

WBUR’s Steve Brown contributed reporting from the State House.

This program aired on January 18, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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