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SolarWorld testifies against China's aggressive solar exports

SolarWorld Industries America Inc has testified before the International Trade Commission (ITC), saying Chinese manufacturers are flooding the US market with solar products backed by large government subsidies.

By Kari Williamson

Gordon Brinser, President, and Kevin Kilkelly, President of US sales, represented SolarWorld and the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM), which includes six other manufacturers of crystalline silicon solar technology.

The testimony follows the coalition's petitions with the ITC and the US Commerce Department in October, accusing Chinese manufacturers of illegally dumping silicon solar cells into the US market.

The petitions also claims Chinese solar manufacturers are receiving massive illegal subsidies from the Chinese Government, such as contract awards, financing breaks and supply chain payments.

The US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, estimated that, “last year, China offered roughly US$30 billion in government financing to its solar companies, including US$7bn to Suntech.”

Brinser presented evidence that Chinese exports of solar cells and solar panels to the United States rose more than 350% from 2008 to 2010 and continue to rise.

CASM contends that the surge in Chinese solar manufacturing and exporting has been the primary cause for a 40% decline in world market prices over the past year. Moreover, the coalition asserts, the proliferation of these products has caused 7 US manufactures to either close or downsize operations, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs, direct and indirect, in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.

In its petitions, SolarWorld is asking the federal government to impose duties to defend the domestic makers of crystalline silicon cells. The case excludes thin-film products manufactured from cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium selenide and amorphous silicon. The case also excludes non-photovoltaic technologies such a solar thermal and concentrated solar power.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity