With the influence of global warming and climate change, people pay much more attention to the development of renewable energy, and solar power shows high potential in development among them. It also draws a huge investment every year.
According to a report by U.S. Energy and Employment Report, Department of Energy, the number of solar power dealers reached 370 thousand in the first quarter of 2016, which makes up 43% of employment number in the energy industry and ranks the highest rate among the energy industry, even growing 25% compared to last year. Judging from this fact, the solar power industry creates a considerable number of employment for America. The report also indicated that the generating capacity of coal-fired power declined 53% from 2006 to September 2016 and is still decreasing. In the meantime, the generating capacity of solar power increased 5,000%.
Although solar panels have become popular, the dumping of these products by Chinese manufacturers has defeated the factories of solar power industry in America. More than ten companies of solar power in America has almost gone into bankruptcy; some even closed down.
Now, the manufacturers in America are fighting back. They have handed in the application to United States International Trade Commission and demand that the government tax the non-American factories which sell solar panels at a price lower than the market price. The commission will vote on September 22. In the end, the American president Donald Trump will make the final decision.
Apart from the solar power industry in America, SolarWorld, a big company of solar power in Germany which has employees up to three thousand, officially claimed to go bankrupt in this May. CEO Frank Asbeck indicated that the government in China strongly supports the solar power industry, and they deal with products of government subsidies everywhere which makes it hard for them to compete.
Previously, SolarWorld has united six other manufacturers in America to file a trade lawsuit, and they won the case. However, they have to file another lawsuit because the manufacturers in China have started to supply solar cells from Taiwan in order to avoid customs duty. The list of customs duty in the second case includes Taiwan.
The price of solar panels decreased from NT$17/watt in 2015 to the lowest NT$12/watt in the end of 2016. In the meantime, installation capacity in America reached a record high. However, according to marketing research company IBISWorld, the market share of the manufacturers in America has continued to decline since 2013. In 2016, it started as 17% and declined to 11%.
This will be one of the most important trade decisions done by Trump. The result may have a great impact on the energy development in America. Although the case hasn’t been voted, because of the psychological expectation of most developers, the price of solar panel in the market has already started to increase. The solar panel industry organization which protests the case indicated that if they approve the case, the installation capacity of solar panel will decrease 50% in the next five years. Employees related to this industry will lose jobs. This will greatly influence the development of solar energy.
(Article source: Tech News; Photo source: public domain CC0)