U.S. Department of Commerce Finds American Solar Manufacturers Harmed by China State-Sponsored Dumping
U.S. Manufacturer Silicon Energy, Along With Congressman Rick Nolan, Testifies in Support of American Solar Manufacturers at Final Trade Hearing in Washington D.C.
Marysville, WA and Mt. Iron, MN, December 24, 2014 — The U.S. Department of Commerce made its final ruling (Investigation Nos. 701-TA-511 and 731-TA-1246-1247(Final)) in the China solar trade case on December 16, 2014, finding that the U.S. domestic solar manufacturing industry has been harmed by China’s massive buildup of state-sponsored solar capacity. This led to a tidal wave of dumped and subsidized imports from China causing a solar price collapse in the U.S.
Based on the Department’s Fact Sheet, Chinese solar manufacturers face combined punitive trade duties as high as 214.83 percent. The Commerce Department assigned tenK Solar (Shanghai), which filed separately from Chinese and Taiwanese companies, a combined dumping and subsidy rate of about 75 percent. Additionally, Taiwanese producers were given an anti-dumping rate of 19.5 percent, with the exception of Motech and Gintech which were assigned rates of 11.45 percent and 27.55 percent respectively.
Silicon Energy and Congressman Rick Nolan (D-Minn) joined US solar manufacturer SolarWorld and US Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in testimony at the International Trade Commission hearing in Washington, DC, on Dec. 8. Testifying in support of China were Chinese manufacturers and developers along with tenK Solar’s President Joel Cannon.
Silicon Energy President Gary Shaver testified in part that, “Severe pricing pressure from China and Taiwan has made it extremely difficult to sell our products based on quality, durability, environmentally sustainable manufacturing, local and US content sourcing and unique integrated differentiating factors. It has also hollowed out the entire supply chain for solar products, forcing many U.S. companies to source aluminum, glass and other
materials from overseas."
There are differences in solar module design and performance, but, as testifiers in support of U.S. solar manufacturing pointed out in testimony, at present, solar is promoted and sold with lowest price being the primary factor in the purchase decision. Solar sales organizations avoid educating consumers on product durability, performance, and technology differences in order to keep the sales pitch moving and to close the sale. As a parallel example, in spite of growing public awareness about environmental, health, and societal issues with how foods are grown and sourced (i.e., non-GMO, organic, local, etc.), with solar most consumers buy with little understanding of and choice in products. They are excited about going solar and have an attractive ROI presented to them by the solar sales organization.
“Photovoltaic solar is an American invention,” added Shaver at the end of the hearing. “Silicon Energy is proud to be an American manufacturer advancing the technology. We strongly believe that innovation occurs next to the manufacturing line and the development of relationships with suppliers and customers. Severe pricing pressure has undercut our ability to move forward with innovative new products to advance the industry.”
Silicon Energy believes that environmental sustainability and the growth of a sustainable and competitive U.S. solar manufacturing industry can be mutually achieved, given the opportunity. However, this either requires the U.S. government to match the investment being made by the Chinese in local, U.S. manufacturing or provide trade rules that allow for U.S. manufacturers to compete fairly against highly subsidized Chinese imports.
The final ruling on the case, a final vote by the International Trade Commission, will take place on January 20, 2015.
For more detail on solar trade case, here are some links:
About Silicon Energy
Located in Washington and Minnesota, Silicon Energy offers customers durable, locally manufactured and environmentally-friendly solar PV products. The company’s philosophy of supporting the local and US economy and its commitment to creating long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing PV allows customers to be confident that while they are reducing their carbon footprint they are also contributing to their local economy. Silicon Energy PV Systems are available through select partners for home, commercial, government, and utility installations. For more information about Silicon Energy, please visit www.silicon-energy.com.