Toxic waste casts cloud on Massachusetts solar co.

Jul 3 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Christine McConville Boston
> Herald
> Evergreen Solar Inc., one of Massachusetts' rising green energy
> stars, is on its way to becoming one of the state's top producers of
> hazardous waste.
> The company generated more than a million pounds of hazardous
> waste last year, according to a report filed this week with the state
> Department of Environmental Protection, even though its new $450
> million factory in Devens wasn't operating at full capacity.
> "It's the other side of this whole clean energy push," said Liz
> Harriman, deputy director of the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction
> Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
> "Even so-called clean manufacturing uses a lot of nasty
> chemicals,"
> she said.
> Marlboro-based Evergreen Solar is one of 540 Massachusetts
> businesses that must report toxic chemical usage each year, as part of
> the state's Toxics Use Reduction Act.
> The company's report for 2008 shows that it created nitric acid,
> sulfuric acid, hydrogen fluoride, and sodium hydroxide. Some of it was
> treated at Devens, while the rest was disposed of off-site.
> An Evergreen executive told neighbors this week that the plant is
> operating at 40 percent capacity.
> When the company's Devens plant is running at full capacity and
> making some 780,000 solar panels a year, sources say it could be among
> the state's top three creators of hazardous waste.
> State environmental agents have not yet determined where
> Evergreen Solar ranks among hazardous waste generators.
> But compared to the latest available data from 2006, Evergreen,
> even in a start-up year, was in the top 20 hazardous waste creators.
> Yesterday, Evergreen Solar spokesman Chris Lawson defended the
> company and its "green manufacturing process."
> He said the publicly traded company produces solar panels "with
> the smallest carbon footprint and quickest energy payback of any
> silicon- based manufacturer."
> Last year, at a ribbon-cutting for the state-subsidized plant,
> Gov.
> Deval Patrick hailed Evergreen Solar as "one of the companies that's
> going to help us get clean energy right."