The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) hosted a briefing for reporters to review the October 3 hearing before the International Trade Commission on their investigation into imported solar cells from China. During the briefing, companies such as SunEdison and GT Advanced Technologies had a chance to voice their opposition to SolarWorld’s aniti-dumping complaint filed last year.
For example, Kevin Lapidus, senior vice president of legal and government affairs at SunEdison stressed how well the U.S. industry is doing. He says the challenge for the industry is not the importation of Chinese solar modules, but the movement to grid parity. In his opinion, SolarWorld’s business is suffering not because of China’s action, but because of its business decisions and lack of understanding as to how solar prices work in the United States. He also says it’s good for incentives to decrease to reach grid parity. But the the trade war is not helpful to the nation’s solar industry. He also explains that the primary objective of the International Trade Commision case is to determine if there has been harm to the United States solar market, which he doesn’t believe there has been. Lapidus says many companies are actually doing quite well. His comments and also clips from Hoil Kim, vice president and chief administrative officer for GT Advanced Technologies, can be heard in the audio piece below.
The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy also released a statement opposing SolarWorld’s actions:
Today’s hearing before the International Trade Commission (ITC) provided an opportunity for those in favor of furthering solar energy’s ability to compete with fossil fuels to present their case in a highly politicized public forum. It is clear that Germany’s SolarWorld, in an attempt to obtain government intervention to raise the price of solar energy, is willing to threaten the future growth of America’s solar industry to achieve its own goals. SolarWorld opponents countered SolarWorld’s claims by demonstrating that the structure of US solar programs and competition with natural gas have been the forces behind driving down the price of solar cells, not imports from China.
Module costs were driven down in parallel with declining incentives for solar energy which has resulted in making solar energy affordable in the US. To the extent that companies such as SolarWorld are not doing well, this reflects their own failures, including being late-comers to the utility segment and to module innovation. In this environment, only those solar module manufacturers that have invested, innovated, and cut costs are equipped to survive.
The ITC will announce it’s final decision by November 7, 2012.