Solar energy becomes increasingly important in a time when fossil fuel reservoirs run dry and pollution reaches alarming levels, even as the main polluting industries moved overseas. As production costs dropped, solar panel sales increased in the last several years. But the world market of solar panels gets more competitive and legal battles are being taken to clarify what it means to be a fair market competitor. U.S. based solar power technology companies claimed that Chinese solar panel producers do not operate fairly because they receive state funding and sell at sub-cost levels.
On Friday, the U.S. Commerce Department intervened by setting preliminary anti-dumping tariffs for some Chinese and Taiwanese solar panel producers. A month ago, anti-subsidy measures have been taken by U.S. regulators, so now a second step is being taken against Asian producers selling solar panels on the U.S. market. The Commerce Department’s June decision set duties from 10.74 up to55.49 percent. The World Trade Organization announced in July that the U.S. infringed global trade rules through its punitive 2012 tariffs on Chinese solar panels. Two different views on how production and distribution should take place clash, leading to increased tensions between the U.S. and China.
The development of solar powered solutions runs at a fast pace. In April, a solar powered plane to fly around the world was announced.
Prices rise as Chinese solar panel producers face anti-dumping taxes
U.S.-based SunPower, among other solar panel companies, will gain from the future anti-dumping tariffs. But the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, formed mostly out of solar panel installers, is not happy with the new measures, according to Reuters. The decision will hinder the development of alternative energy deployment and will affect consumers who will face escalated prices, the coalition argues.
By adding the anti-subsidy and anti-dumping penalties, Trina Solar will pay a total of 29.3 percent. Green Energy will pay a total of 47.27 percent, according to Internet Business Times. This June punitive decisions increased the prices with around 10 percent, hitting Chinese solar panel producers. In the meantime, U.S. and European producers start recovering.
The recent decisions will affect the global solar panels market. Without constant certainty regarding the evolution of prices, few developers can afford the risks involved in initiating new projects. Moreover, analysts cited by the New York Times say that the punitive measures against Chinese solar panel producers will not be beneficial on the long term, because low-cost production might as well move to another country like Mexico, for example.