Evergreen Solar Inc., of Marlborough, expects to be profitable in the first quarter of 2009 and is considering expanding into Asia under a plan to dramatically boost capacity, its chief executive, Richard Feldt, said yesterday.
The company last month reported a first-quarter net loss of $25,000, or break-even on a per share basis, compared with a loss of $6.2 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier.
Evergreen’s new photovoltaic solar cell manufacturing plant — stretching the length of more than three football fields — opens in June at the former Fort Devens and will be capable of producing 80 megawatts of wafer cells and panels a year.
Evergreen has signed a new long-term sales contract with Germany’s Ralos Vertriebs GmbH, worth about $750 million for panel deliveries, bringing its contractual backlog to about $1 billion.
The panels, to be delivered beginning in 2008 and extending through 2013, would be manufactured at Devens.
The company has yet to identify an Asian country to base a plant. A rival, SunPower Corp, announced this month that it would build a plant in Malaysia capable of producing more than 1,000 megawatts of cells per year.
Evergreen Solar’s thin-film solar products require less of the costly silicon used to make traditional solar cells and panels, allowing it to carve out a niche as a tight global market for silicon constrains capacity expansion in the industry.
But a surge in solar shares is stoking concerns over lofty valuations. Evergreen’s stock price jumped 134 percent from the start of 2007 to the end of the year. California-based SunPower soared 253 percent in the same period, and Colorado-based Ascent Solar Technologies jumped 785 percent.
Evergreen Solar shares closed 6.2 percent higher at $11.26 yesterday. But the shares are still down 35 percent so far in 2008.
About the green blog
Helping Boston live a greener, more environmentally friendly life.
Christopher Reidy covers business for the Globe.
Doug Struck covers environmental issues from Boston.
Glenn Yoder produces Boston.com's Lifestyle pages.
Eric Bauer is site architect of Boston.com.
Bennie DiNardo is the Boston Globe's deputy managing editor/multimedia.
Dara Olmsted is a local sustainability professional focusing on green living.