updated 10/21/2010 9:46:04 AM ET 2010-10-21T13:46:04

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., Oct. 21, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- United Solar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq:ENER), announces its participation in a unique municipal "greening" project in Greenville, Michigan. The "GreenERville" project is the nation's only known three-entity public rooftop partnership between the solar industry, city government and a local school district, which was highlighted by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm on a recent visit to the area.

Due to the uniqueness of the partnership and a wide variety of other facilitators ranging from the state and local level, the "GreenERville" project is gaining national attention as a model that other communities, particularly in the Southwest, have inquired about.

The first-stage approved plan includes placing UNI-SOLAR® modules on a total of five city-owned properties, plus two schools – totaling nearly 500kW. Last week, the power was turned on at Lincoln Heights elementary and at Greenville High School. The same week, installation was completed on the City Hall/Public Safety Complex. The city airport, waste water treatment plant, city well field and Greenville Community Center are next on the approved list.

The Community Center will receive UNI-SOLAR's newest commercial product, PowerTilt.

"The efforts in Greenville are a great example of what the power of solar energy can create, both in real energy and in bringing people together with a common goal and purpose," said Mark Morelli, president and CEO of UNI-SOLAR's parent company, Energy Conversion Devices. "Greenville holds a special place in our company, as it hosts two of our manufacturing facilities. We are excited to be partnering with the city and school district where many of our employees and their families live and go to school."

City Manager George Bosanic and Greenville Schools Superintendent Pete Haines are the out-front leaders of the project, which Bosanic said could definitely grow to a total 6 MW system over time.

"Of course our official name is Greenville, but through this project we hope to be known as GreenERville, with an end goal of being known someday as GreenESTville," Bosanic said during the governor's visit. "We hope we'll eventually become somewhat of a global attraction where people can see and hear about every aspect of solar energy, from the UNI-SOLAR manufacturing facility, to various local vendors, to the education we're providing our kids. We're currently the largest collection of solar in the state of Michigan, and hope to become the first municipal government in the country that is 100 percent alternative energy."

The Greenville school district would eventually like to cover the roofs of all six buildings in the system. Haines projects the two current locations will generate $90,000 annually in new revenue from local utility Consumers Energy buying the solar power for the grid.

"This project has less to do with the generation of power, and more to do with the empowering of our next generation of kids," Haines said. 

The elementary and high schools have, and the community center will have, a monitoring system hooked up that shows the amount of power being generated by the solar modules. City leaders said the partnership is about educating the community as well. The school district also heavily promotes energy efficiency and the study of solar power in its elementary through high school curriculum. 

Community banks provided the necessary bonds, and grants were secured by the efforts of local officials. The financing package alone was also a unique procedure for securing solar energy, one which Bosanic says when it's paid off will provide the city properties with 13 years of free electricity.

UNI-SOLAR has more than 25 years experience in the ever-growing worldwide industry of solar power generation, and is the largest manufacturer of lightweight flexible solar panels in the world. It has two manufacturing facilities side-by-side in Greenville.

About Energy Conversion Devices/United Solar

Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) (Nasdaq:ENER) is a leader in building-integrated and rooftop photovoltaics. The company manufactures, sells and installs thin-film solar laminates that convert sunlight to energy using proprietary technology. ECD's UNI-SOLAR® brand products are unique because of their flexibility, light weight, ease of installation, durability, and real-world efficiency. Through its Solar Integrated Technologies business, the company also designs, manufactures and installs rooftop photovoltaic systems, which enable customers to transform unused space on the rooftop into a value-generating asset. In addition, ECD's Ovonic Materials Division is the pioneer in NiMH battery technology, and is developing low cost fuel cells, hydrogen production from bioreformation, and hydrogen storage technologies. For more information, please visit www.energyconversiondevices.com .

This release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Safe Harbor Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include statements concerning our plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future events, future net sales or performance, capital expenditures, financing needs, plans or intentions relating to expansions, business trends and other information that is not historical information. All forward-looking statements are based upon information available to us on the date of this release and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside of our control, that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements. Risks that could cause such results to differ include: our ability to maintain our customer relationships; the worldwide demand for electricity and the market for solar energy; the supply and price of components and raw materials for our products; and our customers' ability to access the capital needed to finance the purchase of our product. The risk factors identified in the ECD filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, could impact any forward-looking statements contained in this release.

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