Solar technology producer SolarWorld AG has asserted that a surge in imports of solar energy equipment from China has been devastating for solar companies in the United States.
Complaints of U.S. Solar Firms
Solar firms in the United States maintain that imports from China have severely hurt domestic companies. The firms attributed massive layoffs and plant closures to an inability to keep up with the cheap costs of imported solar technology from China.
Solar companies in the U.S. have urged the government to make imports from China less enticing by applying penalties to any solar products that are brought into the U.S. from the Asian country.
Loose regulations and funding provided by the Chinese government have made imports readily available and cheap for companies in the United States that would like to invest in solar energy without manufacturing the equipment themselves.
House Democrats noted that the subsidized solar technology being imported into the U.S. has sent away manufacturing jobs that are crucial to the financial well-being of Americans.
The Future of Solar Technology
Supporters of importing solar technology from China feel that imposing penalties on imports would be detrimental to Americans. Penalties on imports are predicted to force China to drive prices up, and Americans who install solar energy equipment may end up in the unemployment line.
A drop in solar prices that has been blamed on imports from China may actually be linked to regulations in the U.S. and a high number of alternative energy sources.
The Commerce Department will decide if penalties will be imposed on imports of solar equipment from China in order to make up for the subsidies that Chinese companies receive from the Chinese government.
Time will tell if excess tariffs will truly help bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. Opponents of these tariffs are certain that the move will end up costing jobs instead of bringing manufacturing work back to the U.S.
Despite support from top politicians and an influx of government funding, solar has struggled to gain widespread adoption in the U.S., mostly due to inefficiency of the technology and the resulting higher operating costs, as this infographic explains.