The solar industry trade isn't very sunny, and it's not getting any sunnier

Posted by TGarland on 09/18/2013

Solar panelsSolar industry trade cases accentuate the tension between the two largest economies in the world — and it’s been quite contentious for a while.

In 2009, the industry was relatively new and therefore more fluid and unstable. As solar technology expanded, many U.S. solar companies were forced to lay off workers or close their factories due to the extremely (and artifficially) cheap solar products coming out of China.

The hard numbers: Chinese solar product imports surged more than 350 percent from 2008 to 2010. As a result, the U.S. solar industry lost thousands of jobs and at least seven companies were forced to close or downsize.

The export-oriented solar industry in China has been heavily subsidized by for the years. In the world’s biggest antidumping case to date, European companies accused China of dumping solar products into in their markets putting many of them out of business.

And now — in an announcement the U.S. government calls “disappointing” — China says it is preparing tariffs on solar material from certain American companies. The huge Chinese solar industry imports a large amount of solar-grade polysilicon to make its solar products.

The irony is astounding. 

Image by Flickr user Abi Skipp, following Creative Commons guidelines. 

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