GREENVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) - He says he knew the company was struggling, but laid off United Solar Ovonic employee Stephen Perry says the company's bankruptcy announcement is still a surprise.
"It's a big shock," says Perry. "It's a big blow, I'm sure, for a lot of people."
Energy Conversion Devices, Inc., the Auburn Hills company that owns United Solar, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday. Executives say they have huge debt, a mountain of retirement obligations and too few customers buying solar energy panels.
"The company has been in a slow and steady downturn for a period of time," confirms United Solar Ovonic Grandville Plant Manager Tim Kelley.
When Electrolux moved their refrigerator factory to Mexico several years ago hopes were high United Solar would be the city's new economic anchor.
It has not worked out that way.
"It's very disappointing," says former State Representative Mike Huckleberry.