A timeline of United Solar Ovonic and Energy Conversion Devices

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 7:07 pm on Tuesday, February 14, 2012


• March 22, 2006: USO announced plans to construct six solar panel manufacturing facilities in Greenville’s new industrial park over the next four years, each employing about 200 workers for a total of 1,200 new jobs. Gov. Jennifer Granholm was on hand for the announcement.

• April 2006: USO and the city of Greenville finalized the purchase of about 96 acres north of VanDeinse Street between Vining and Fitzner roads. A USO representative handed then-Mayor Lloyd Walker a check for $1,109,580 — the property’s purchase price.

• May 2006: The Greenville City Council approved a $45 million tax incentive package for USO. The package included a $7.38 million Michigan Economic Growth Authority tax credit, a $20.346 million Renaissance Zone property tax savings, a $3.573 million industrial facilities tax exemption, a $6.252 million state sales tax exemption, an $899,000 state investment tax credit, a $1.6 million grant for employee training and $5 million in infrastructure improvements.

• June 2006: USO was prominently featured in a series of national print, radio and television advertisements highlighting Michigan business success stories.

• June 2006: Montcalm Community College’s 51.5-credit special training classes began for USO employees. A total of 235 people took the entrance exam and 109 met the requirements.

• October 2006: USO announced a contract for the largest order of solar panels the company had received to date. Solar Integrated Technologies (SIT) in Los Angeles signed a supply and cooperation agreement with USO, extending an existing contract through 2010.

• November 2006: USO began accepting job applications.

• December 2006: USO received a $15 million order from Biohaus PV Handels in Germany.


• January 2007: Job training began with a 13-week training course at USO’s headquarters in Auburn Hills.

• February 2007: USO reported lowered profits and revenue for its second quarter.

• March 2007: USO received a federal grant for up to $20 million to develop a low-cost method of producing solar roof shingles. The award was part of $168 million in grants to 13 American companies working in solar energy through President George W. Bush’s Solar American Initiative.

• May 2007: USO received two orders totaling more than $5.8 million from Unimetal S.p.A in Italy.

• May 2007: USO blamed a plunge in third-quarter profits on construction of two solar panel manufacturing plants in Greenville and startup costs for another facility in Auburn Hills.

• July 2007: USO announced a $108 million three-year distributor agreement to provide Advanced Green Technologies Inc. in Florida.

• August 2007: ECD founder Stanford Ovshinsky retired at age 85.

• September 2007: Mark Morelli replaced former Robert Stempel as president and CEO of ECD.

• September 2007: USO reported a profit for its fourth quarter.

• Nov. 1, 2007: USO began production at its first plant in Greenville.

• November 2007: USO reported an increase in revenue for its first quarter.

• November 2007: The Greenville City Council agreed to sell four acres of land on Fitzner Road to USO.


• February 2008: USO reported an increase in revenue for its second quarter.

• March 2008: Gov. Jennifer Granholm toured USO.

• May 2008: The Greenville City Council approved nearly doubling USO’s incentive package to more than $20 million to correlate with USO’s plans to double manufacturing capacity.

• May 2008: ECD announced it had turned a quarterly profit for the first time.

• June 2008: USO began accepting job applications to accommodate a planned expansion.

• August 2008: ECD announced it had turned a yearly profit for the first time.

• November 2008: USO reported revenues more than doubled from the same period the previous year.


• February 2009: USO and ECD reported revenues nearly doubled for the second quarter.

• March 2009: USO cut production and slowed expansion due to global economic woes. Nearly 800 workers at the two Greenville plants were laid off for two weeks.

• May 2009: USO closed its two Greenville plans for four weeks to adjust to changing market conditions. A total of 425 workers were furloughed from May 14 to June 14. USO also began offering a voluntary severance package to employees.

• May 2009: USO reported a drop in sales and profits for the third quarter.

• July 2009: ECD purchased SIT in Los Angeles, paying $11.2 million for all shares of SIT and assumed about $5.1 million in debt for a total purchase price of $16.3 million.

• August 2009: USO reported an increase in revenue and profits. However, the company lost $15.8 million in the fourth quarter compared with a $1.3 million profit over the same period the previous year.

• November 2009: ECD reported a drop in revenue in its first fiscal quarter. Lower sales at USO led to a net loss of $11.8 million for the quarter, down from a net income of $11.8 million in the same period the previous year.

• December 2009: ECD and USO announced a restructuring plan that cut 20 percent of both companies’ workforce, including about 80 jobs in Greenville. ECD planned to cut about 400 jobs.


• January 2010: USO received $13.3 million in federal tax credits through an Advanced Energy Tax Credit program announced by President Barack Obama.

• January 2010: USO announced plans to establish a solar laminate manufacturing facility in France.

• January 2010: USO used a $13 million federal tax credit credit for a $42 million upgrade at its Auburn Hills plan.

• February 2010: ECD posted a loss for its second fiscal quarter.

• March 2010: Work furloughs for more than 200 employees at USO were extended from three weeks to seven weeks.

• September 2010: ECD reported an increase in revenue and sales during its fourth quarter.

• November 2010: ECD didn’t make a profit in its first quarter, but reported a stronger financial performance.


• February 2011: USO reported an increase in sales and revenue.

• April 2011: USO announced plans for a manufacturing facility in Ontario.

• May 2011: Robert Stempel, the former CEO for ECD, died at age 77.

• May 2011: ECD cut 300 jobs and President and CEO Mark Morelli left the company after ECD reported a 70 percent drop in revenue and a net loss of more than $243 million in the third quarter. About 120 employees were cut from Greenville.

• August 2011: ECD reported gains in the fourth quarter over the third quarter, but revenue and profits were far below levels from the previous year.

• November 2011: USO announced 144 job cuts in Greenville, dropping the number of employees to about 40 for the rest of the year.

• December 2011: Julian Hawkins took over as president and CEO of ECD.

• December 2011: USO agreed to return about $11 million of a $22 million Community Development Block Grant, which was part of an incentive package to lure USO to Greenville.

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