New Hampshire, U.S.A. — Chinese solar manufacturers came under fire last week with news breaking that SolarWorld and six unnamed American manufacturers were filing a trade complaint, alleging unfair trading practices and pushing for a tariff of 100 percent to be placed on all crystalline silicon cells and modules imported from China. The news broke while the solar industry convened at Solar Power International 2011 in Dallas, and the filing set the stage for a fast-moving process that could result in tariffs on Chinese imports into the U.S. within six months. The news has drawn a sharp response from the Chinese government, which accused the American solar industry of protectionism.
The Process: If a determination is made in favor of the American companies, the complaint could have vast implications for Chinese manufacturers.
Reaction in America: SolarWorld says it is protecting American manufacturing, but several industry executives say putting restrictions on free trade is shortsighted.
China’s Reaction: Chinese officials have suggested that imposing tariffs could also have dire consequences for the American companies that do business with Chinese panelmakers.
Stocks Plunge: Some of the biggest Chinese companies saw their stocks tumble significantly the day following the announcement.
Cutting Ties: Germany wind energy company Repower says it is pulling out of the China market because, he says, capacity is starting to outstrip demand.
Potential for Growth: A new report, however, details China’s ambitious wind energy agenda, saying the nation could install 1,000 gigawatts of wind power by 2050.
Biofuels Race Not Much of a Race: China is speeding up its path toward a biofuels market while much of the rest of the Western world lags behind.
In India, The Bids for Solar Are In: More than 150 companies have placed bids as India moves closer toward building large-scale solar developments.
Out of the Solar Game: Panasonic scraps plans to convert a plasma television factory into a solar manufacturing facility, citing inability to compete with Chinese manufacturers.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
And the Winner Is …: Japan wins the solar car race, traversing 3,000 kilometers of remote highways through Australia’s Outback.
Combining Solar and Wind: Tobisha this week announced that it will participate in a consortium that will carry out a feasibility study for a combined solar and wind power plant in Tahara, Aichi prefecture, towards starting construction in 2012.
Solar Rate of Return
“During 2011-2012, we expect a short-term lull in the European Union PV market, primarily due to [feed-in-tariff] rate cuts and regulations on farm land usage for ground-mount installations. But this will be offset by installations in the high-growth markets of North America and Asia, and China in particular.”
Arun Kumar, SBI Energy analyst in new report
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