I didn't see any comments or references to the recently imposed "anti-dumping tariff". I recently tried to buy some Chineese panels and then I was informed about the tariff. I then googled it and saw that it was passed in May and slated to start this month but was retroactive for 90 days. I went to a tariff calculator and entered all the info and it produced a 249% rate making the tariff 17.5K on a 7K purchase. This is ridiculous. They might as well be banned.
I have now put off everything and am reassessing my plans. So much for these idiots trying to help the environment. If it's not cost effective, why even do it. -Oh, because if you're the government, you don't mind frittering other peoples money away. Irony is, the money's all borrowed from China in the first place.
Did anyone note the line about a chinese solar CEO committing suicide when he couldn't repay a GOVERNMENT LOAN?
While they may not be dumping, China clearly has subsidized firms in the form of loans, to produce the capacity to own the market. The overcapacity problem stems from Germany and Spain cutting back severely on their big solar investments, two years or so ago.
The problem with PV solar is that the physics simply don't support the systems without government subsidies in the form of tax credits or deductions; at least, not at the present price of oil or natural gas.
From my meetings with solar CEO's, the only firms really making money were the installation firms. And even they were dependent on the tax treatment.
For the record, I think we could leave the presidential politics out of this discussion. They both pay lip service to whatever they think people want to hear--while it's the congress that has to take action.
It is a tall order. Understanding what he's up against makes him (in my opinion) a visionary. Reaching far in the face of reality makes progress. On the other hand, reaching far in the face of wishful thinking does the opposite.
James Brown, the exec VP at First Solar, said a few months back that the industry must moved beyond what he called "false" competition and compete directly with the "fossil OEMs," by which he presumably meant the fossil fuel industry (not a dying industry). Brown argued that the solar industry has to reduce costs, especially life cycle costs, and overcome the "perceived risk" of going solar. A tall order, but at least he's looking to the future and trying to compete.
I normally refrain from discussing politics except with close friends, but the amount of easily debunked misinformation thrown about during this campaign has astounded me, even as cynical about politics as I am.
The current president has certainly done things I don't agree with. That's to be expected with any president. I really wish there was more fact checking theses days. So much has been exagerated or invented that it's pretty much impossible to tell what's real and what's not without a lot of digging.
Back to the subject at hand, I think what we're seeing is that the complete package of economics for solar isn't quite there yet. Something is missing that would be needed to create a real market for all of that panel production capacity that China has developed and other countries would like to develop. You can't just will something into existence in a global economy.
Wind power is experiencing a similar set of issues too. Subsidies and an abundant supply of wind are allowing wind farms to pop up all over the place, especially here in the Pacific Northwest. But, apparently, no one bothered to put up enough new wires to get all of that power to populations centers where it's needed.
Romney did mention oil industry subsidies. (I will try to repeat what he said. I do not know if the statements are true)
1) Most Oil industry subsidies go to small drillers. (Ideally getting more oil produced inside the country.)
2) The green subsidies granted by Obama administration amounted to 50 years of oil industry subsidies.
3) Many of the green subsidies have led to spectacular flameouts. (My twist on Romney's words).
4) It appears that many of the Obama selections were bad investments and may have been politically motivated. (The latter could be said of thousands of tax break/subsidy decisions made by the thoroughly corrupt Congress and White House. All bow to the wisdom and putiry of the Supreme Court in the Citizens United decision.
I am not trying to elicit flames for or against Obama or Romney. There is a more fundamental issue that applies to them and to China
When a central government run by actual humans tries to pick winners and losers, they are going to make many wrong decisions. If there is influence-buying or peddling, they are going to make bad decisions that are obviously wrong and morally unethical. Example: The Solyndra 'loan' where the public's money will/would get re-paid after the private money. Oh, with large, or long-standing, central governments, THERE IS ALWAYS INFLUENCE-BUYING.
I grew up not being afraid of the Soviet Union because the Politburo made so many mistakes.
Their eventual collapse came as no surprise.
I would not be afraid of China either, except our national government has lost almost any sense of what is needed to survive let alone prosper. In a Hegelian sense, China is trying to create a synthesis of Central rule with free enterprise where they decide to tolerate or encourage it. I expect them to fail eventually (as this article is hinting), but I fear we may fail faster.
Singled out Solyndra? I see this as a much more broad trend, of reality trumping political rheotoric.
EE Times has reported on the difficulties encountered by the EV market as a whole and on the ouster of a CEO whose company was betting on battery swapping, just recently. Other companies that got millions from the government, aside from Solyndra, including EV manufacturers, are also struggling.
But it's not clear to me whether the solar panel problem in China is caused primarily because they slashed prices too much, or because demand has dropped? Reading the article, it almost sounds like in their zeal to undercut the global solar panel manufacturing industry, China may simply have gone too far?