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USA Solar Manufacturers and Developers Fight A Bitter Battle As Trump Decision Awaited

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High Minimum Import Prices for Solar Components

The USA solar manufacturers are fighting a last ditch battle to save the solar industry in the USA as two of the biggest solar manufactures Suniva and Solarworld pitch for their petition to impose high minimum import prices for solar cells and modules under Section 201. These two companies which have already declared bankruptcy are making a strong base to get manufacturing back into the USA by advocating a solar panel price of 78 cents a watt (cells at 40 cents a watt). The two companies have been hurt massively by the relentless Chinese onslaught which has reduced solar panel prices to just 30 cents/watt which is almost 30% below last year. These two companies which had increased capacities after the sharp growth in USA demand had no option but to close. The USA has already imposed anti dumping duties on China and Taiwan but they were easily circumvented by the Chinese giants like Trina Solar, Jinko Solar, JA Solar and others who quickly opened large factories in Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand and started to flood the USA market with their solar panels.

First Solar Solar Panels

Solarworld and Suniva have come out with a new report which shows that the USA can add more than a 100,000 jobs even with these import duties being imposed. This is in counter to the developer lobby showing that USA capacity installations will fall in half if the Act is imposed by the Trump administration which has come to power on the promise of saving USA manufacturing jobs.

The USA solar industry is dominated by the developers who have repeatedly come out in media vilifying the manufacturers for trying to save themselves from unfair Chinese competition. Note USA has imposed tough protectionist measures on other commodities like steel but the USA industry continues to thrive. USA steel prices are much higher than the global average prices as almost 200 measures have been imposed to save the USA steel industry from the massive Chinese overcapacity.

The manufacturers may be wrong in the creation of job numbers but the argument that solar manufacturing wipe-out from the USA will also lead to a loss in innovation and R&D is also very true. China is already ahead of the solar technology and the complete shutdown of solar manufacturing will make its lead even bigger. The USA administration should balance the interests of both the developers and manufacturers. It can’t ignore the manufacturing just so that installers job can keep increasing. There might come a day when the USA becomes a dependent country on China for key technologies and no jobs are left. They cannot be myopic and just lean on.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Arunkummar Nidambhali

    Countries like India, USA,Canada,Germany, France,Australia should take the lead in Solar Cell & Solar Panel manufacturing & impose heavy dumping duties on Chinese Solar products. Only then there would be a healthy growth of the Solar Industry worldwide.