It’s Official – They Dominate the PV Industry

As I wrote previously here, here and here, Asian, and particularly Chinese, companies have rapidly dominated the PV solar energy industry in a mere 8 years.

A new report from IMS market intelligence group shows just how large that dominance has become.  Chinese crystalline

solar panel, solar energy

Going, going . . . .

module companies dominate the global market with 55% market share. Chinese wafer and cell manufactures also dominate their segment with over 80% market share.

China manufacturing dominance is not about cheap labor. Crystalline PV module and components production is a highly automated process. It’s a story of strong government support with a long-term focus, low cost capital, low cost real estate, and other government supports. With assistance of European and U.S automated production machine companies, Asian based PV product is high quality. We can file all the WTO actions we want, and there may be validity to the WTO violations claims, but the real issue is that the U.S. has not supported clean energy in any meaningful, sustained manner.  And by the time a WTO action has been arbitrated, their competitive advantage will be even greater.

The current budget debate on Capitol Hill doesn’t inspire confidence that this situation will change for the better.  While President Obama has vision of clean energy growth, the “slash and burn the budget with no regard to loss of jobs” extremists in the House of Representatives will make it difficult to change this devolving clean energy job situation. At a time when jobs are the number one political and economic issue, we have and continue to let the greatest new economic opportunity of our lifetime go overseas.

This is not idle speculation. The U.S. is on track to lose 2 million clean energy related jobs by the end of 2011. A successful demonstration of how to employ people in clean energy can be seen in California, where over 200,000 jobs have been created in the last 10 years as a result of strong state government support of implementation of clean energy projects.

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