This morning, a group of 25 U.S. solar firms have come together against recent charges of unfair trade practices by Chinese solar panel manufacturers.
The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) announced their founding to counterbalance the actions of the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM). CASM recently filed anti-dumping petitions to the U.S. government against Chinese solar firms in October.
CASM is led by SolarWorld, a German solar panel manufacturer with facilities in the U.S., and includes six other undisclosed U.S. solar firms. Their actions have already been met with criticism from Chinese officials.
But now, the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy has come out to “defend solar industry competition and growth in the U.S. and globally.” CASE represents 25 firms and over 9,200 jobs, comprising 9 percent of the U.S. solar workforce.
“There are more than 5,000 companies in the U.S. solar industry that will be negatively impacted by SolarWorld’s actions,” said Sheldon Kimber, Chief Operating Officer of Recurrent Energy and a co-founder of CASE.
“We expect this Coalition will continue to grow and provide a voice to the majority of American solar companies who are facing a massive loss of jobs and decimation of the U.S. solar project pipeline if this petition is successful.”
If the Department of Commerce finds the claims against China to be true, and the U.S. International Trade Commission deems low-priced Chinese solar imports to threaten material injury the U.S. PV industry, then solar panel imports from China may be hit with countervailing duties of over 100 percent.
“The vast majority of the existing 100,000 jobs in the solar industry are in sales, marketing, design, installation, and maintenance. These jobs depend on affordably priced solar panels and companies would have to lay-off workers if panel prices rose as a result of this petition,” said Jigar Shah, Chairman of CASE and head of the Carbon War Room and founder of Sun Edison.
“Despite the remarkable progress, the U.S. still represents only 5%-10% of the global solar marketplace. Placing protectionist barriers against more efficient and affordable solar cells — whatever their origin — discourages innovation and investment,” he continued.
The group claims broad support for free trade, citing a PV Magazine poll which showed 76 percent of respondents opposed CASM’s filing.
Unlike CASM, CASE has released the full list of member firms. These include: Alpine Solar Energy, LLC, AltPOWER, Inc., American Solar Systems, Inc., Canadian Solar, Carbon War Room, Carolina Solar Energy LLC, Gaia Worldwide, LLC, groSolar, Lighthouse Solar, Lumos, MEMC/SunEdison, PetersenDean, Recurrent Energy, Rochlin Corporation, Russell Pacific, Solar City, SolarFirst, Inc., Sungevity, Suntech America, SunRun, Syncarpha Solar, LLC., Trina Solar U.S. Inc., Verengo, Westinghouse Solar and Yingli Americas.