American Solar Dumping Case Update

The New York Times reports that the United States has decided to slap some anti dumping duties on solar panels made in China. These are between 24 and 36 percent.

As mentioned earlier, this will not have much influence on the big picture. Right now, the United States is a minor market for solar panels. The last report of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association from May of this year documented that the United States had a measly 4.4 GW installed as of 2011, compared to 51 GW in Europe. It got only an anemic 1.885 GW in new installations in 2011, out of 29.7 GW world wide. Though, to be fair, that was a new record for that market.

However, the report also expects further growth, to a 3 GW market this year, and a market between 8 and 10 GW in 2016. So the United States market, while not very relevant at the moment, might become more so in the future.

Will the new duties stop that projected growth?

I don’t think so. Solar photovoltaic is much more expensive in the United States than in Germany because of higher installation costs. In July of this year, John Farrell compared the cost of a 4 kW system in the United States and Germany, with $20,000 on one side and $8,000 on the other. The cost for the panels was at about $4,000. Having that increase to $5,000 doesn’t change much in the big picture.

That in turn means that other parts of the world won’t enjoy a further big reduction in prices because of a large reduction of the all important American market.

That might change if the EU starts to follow suit.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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