Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy: Spiraling Trade War Hurts Everyone, Everywhere

- Potential Retaliation from China to Hurt U.S. Economy, Jobs -

Nov 22, 2011, 11:00 ET from Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) expressed concern today about the growing collateral damage and potential job losses caused by SolarWorld's shortsighted, anti-trade actions. According to several media groups, a Chinese solar industry association is now considering filing an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy trade case against U.S.-based producers of solar products.

"Unfortunately, our worst fears are becoming a reality. SolarWorld's actions are now threatening to directly hurt all levels of the U.S. solar industry and could undermine decades of industry progress and innovation. Tens of thousands of jobs are now at stake, and for what? Who benefits? It's becoming painfully obvious throughout the U.S. solar industry that trade wars are jobs killers. In addition, a solar trade war threatens our common goal of making solar electricity affordable for everyone in the U.S. As the world's two largest energy producers and consumers, the U.S. and China must work together to solve our planet's energy and environmental crisis," said Jigar Shah, co-founder and chairman of CASE as well as the founder of SunEdison.

According to GTM Research and the U.S. Solar Energy Industry Association, the U.S. is a net exporter of solar products to China by more than US$200 million and to the world by nearly US$2 billion. In particular, many U.S. companies are leaders in the production of polysilicon, a key material input for crystalline silicon solar cells, as well as manufacturing equipment. In 2010, American companies exported US$873 million worth of polysilicon and nearly US$1 billion of manufacturing equipment to China, compared to imports of only US$4 million and US$93 million, respectively.

At the same time, global polysilicon price declines have directly caused a dramatic drop in the price of crystalline silicon solar panels, making solar electricity more competitive against traditional sources of electricity generation. However, a trade war would put the solar industry's remarkable cost-reduction trajectory at risk, according to CASE.

"The U.S. solar energy industry is currently experiencing rapid growth, creating new jobs in the United States and exporting key components in the solar value chain to numerous countries, including exporting to China.  U.S. job growth and manufacturing exports, as well as the achievement of U.S. renewable energy goals, are all furthered by the dismissal of the SolarWorld trade case. This trade case, brought by a company that represents approximately 2-3% of the U.S. solar job market, is putting at risk these crucial American objectives and threatening the remaining 97-98% of the U.S. solar industry that is creating jobs and is continuing its progress toward achieving grid parity for solar energy," said Kevin Lapidus, a CASE spokesperson and Senior Vice President Legal and Government Affairs for SunEdison, a subsidiary of MEMC.

"For the sake of the global solar industry and tens of thousands of jobs, we urge SolarWorld to withdraw its complaint and for China-based PV companies to stand-down in turn. The success of the global solar industry will be achieved through competition and growth, not protectionism," added Shah.

To learn more about the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE), please visit our website: .

SOURCE Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy