New Duties on Chinese Solar Products Boost the U.S. Solar Manufacturing Industry

solar battle

The battle over imported solar panels has finally been decided in favor of the US solar industry. Image courtesy of Robert Bell (

Earlier this month the United States International Trade Commission gave final approval on duties of billions in solar-energy products from China.  U.S. solar producers will be protected against unreasonably low priced Chinese imports for the next five years.  The inexpensive solar panels which have poured in from China have literally put solar manufacturing companies out of business.  The new duties that will now be imposed on solar imports give US solar energy companies such as Helios in Wisconsin a nice boost.

Not only U.S. producers but also European solar producers make the point that the rapid expansion of Chinese solar panel manufacturing destroyed profits and crippled share prices due to massive oversupply.  The case against China which was filed by a group of solar manufacturers in the U.S. has had the desired outcome.  Double and triple-digit duties on Chinese imports are now being imposed.  For example, the world’s largest solar panel producer, Suntech of China, now has combined duties of approximately 36 percent.

China clearly cheated not only where solar panel manufacturing is concerned but also in other industries in past decades, costing millions of U.S. jobs.  And they aren’t happy with these new duties, which penalize their actions.  An area of possible retaliation is that China is investigating U.S. imports of solar-grade polysilicon, threatening the possibility of imposing crippling duties.

Whatever retaliations may occur, the solar manufacturing industry in the United States is likely going to come out a big winner.

U.S. imports of China’s illegally subsidized and dumped solar panels are now rapidly decreasing.  In September of 2011, solar panels imported from China totaled $249.7 million as opposed to $112.7 million in September of 2012. This is a 55% drop in imported Chinese solar panels in just one year.

chinese solar

With less foreign competition saturating the US solar market, American solar is back on track.

Obviously, with fewer Chinese solar products saturating the market, U.S. solar manufacturers are placed in a better position to stay in the black.  In fact, many are of the opinion that the unfair practices of China are the cause of the massive failure of such companies as Solyndra.  There have been at least 12 solar American solar manufacturers which have either been downsized with significant job losses or have been forced to shut down altogether.

Helios USA LLC of Wisconsin is one manufacturing company which will no doubt benefit now that the playing field has been leveled.  Helios is the first manufacturer of high-performance solar modules in Wisconsin; the modules are used in residential, industrial, commercial, and utility-based solar electric systems.

At Helios, robotics is used along with skilled workers to complete the complex process of building solar modules.  The company’s goal is to create 50 additional permanent quality jobs, and that goal is more a possibility today than ever.  Helios produces products which can be expected to last for decades after installation, which is typical of solar systems produced in the U.S.

With the unfair trade practices of the Chinese in check, solar manufacturers in America can enjoy industry stability as they work to aid homeowners and businesses in their switch to clean energy.

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  1. Steve Hillsman says:

    Perhaps it will help US manufacturers of solar panels, but it will raise the costs for most other US businesses that currently import higher quality and lower cost panels from China. This in turn will raise the costs of the products these US manufacturers produce. Which, of course will raise the prices of thoses products. So… who are the winners and losers again?