Losing Our U.S. Solar Manufacturing Base. Competing with WTO Scofflaws?

solar energy, solar panels

China Based Solar Cell Production

As I wrote previously on this subject, Asian companies are investing considerable resources in their domestic solar energy manufacturing companies and now have over 50% global market share. While my concern is that the U.S. has been left behind in solar manufacturing, a few Asian countries may be violating World Trade Organization regulations. China, a recent signatory to the WTO, is under the microscope on a number of fronts (tires, steel, credit cards services) with actions pending, and solar energy manufacturing may be next in line. A good article here today from the New York Times illustrates the potential violations.

This is a difficult topic as the lines are blurry and the alleged violations hard to uncover and value, if past WTO actions are any indication. Clearly, Chinese companies are making both high quality product and big inroads on the global stage. But I believe the main competitive issue is the lack of U.S. government support to foster a strong American solar energy industry, regardless of the whether any WTO regulations were or were not violated. Stay tuned as I believe this issue may become more acute going forward.

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