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Energy

UPDATE 2-Evergreen Solar net loss shrinks, shipments rise

* Q2 loss per share of 2 cts vs 11 cts loss year-ago

* Revenues rise 24 pct to $84.5 million

* Shares firm 5 pct in post-market trade (Adds analyst comment, earnings details; updates shares)

NEW YORK, Aug 2 (Reuters) - U.S. photovoltaic solar maker Evergreen Solar Inc ESLR.O posted a smaller quarterly loss on Monday, helped by lower production costs and higher shipments.

Robust demand for solar systems has helped boost sales for renewable energy companies this year as developers have rushed to build projects in Germany ahead of cuts to subsidies there.

Evergreen, which issued $165 million in convertible notes during the quarter to refinance debt and fund its operations, has sought to cut its production costs by moving production to China after closing a Massachusetts pilot plant in 2008.

The company’s solar panel manufacturing costs dropped to $1.94 per watt from $2.04 in the first quarter, and said it shipped 39.8 megawatts of product, up from 35.4 MW in the first quarter.

For the second quarter ended July 3, its net loss shrank to $3.3 million, or 2 cents per share, from $20.6 million, or 11 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

But the company said that figure included several items, and it was not immediately clear how it compared to Wall Street’s forecast for a loss of 11 cents per share.

Revenue rose 24 percent to $84.5 million, topping analysts’ average forecast of $79.59 million.

The company’s average selling price slipped nearly 8 percent from the first quarter to $2.04 per watt, largely due to the U.S. dollar’s gains versus the euro. The company has typically made the vast majority of its sales in Germany.

“It’s pretty much in line with what people in the market were expecting,” said Christine Hersey, analyst with Wedbush Securities.

The company’s new Wuhan, China production plant, built with the financial support of the Hubei, China government has begun operations and was ramping to its initial capacity of 25 MW.

Evergreen shares rose 5 percent in post-market trading to 70.5 cents per share, extending their 1.5 percent gain during the regular session. (Reporting by Matt Daily; Editing by Andre Grenon and Richard Chang)

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