Solar advocates split on Chinese tariffs in Pennsylvania
Solar production by the numbers:
Number of U.S. Producers of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells: 14
Employment in 2011: 1,856
U.S. producers’ domestic sales: $790.5 million
U.S. Imports in 2011 from China:
Source: United States International Trade Commission
With state-issued solar credits at an all-time low due to a glut of development in Pennsylvania, manufacturers, installers and renewable power advocates are divided on a recent U.S. International Trade Commission decision that allows the Department of Commerce to go forward with antidumping duties of up to 250 percent on Chinese imports.
A half-dozen large solar manufacturers brought the case against China, claiming government subsidies were allowing Chinese manufacturers to sell panels for less than the cost of production.
Yet, many solar advocates opposed the measures, predicting that the cost of solar power will skyrocket once Chinese panels are removed from the mix, thus discouraging solar development.
David Hommrich, president of Green Tree-based Sunrise Energy LLC, is among many in the industry who think loopholes in the tariffs will keep prices from rising much beyond 10 percent.
“Everybody is going to take a little bit of a haircut in the supply chain in order to make it work,” he said.
Hommrich is currently getting quotes from Chinese solar panel manufacturers for several commercial solar farms planned for southwestern Pennsylvania totaling 3 megawatts.
With the exception of his first batch of solar panels, which were made here by Solar Power Industries, the other panels on his 1 megawatt project in Slovan came from a Canadian company that manufactured them in China.
“Pretty much everybody’s making them in China,” he said.
If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.