Trade and Tradeoffs: The Secret to Solar Success?
Which is more important: making solar panels cheap or making them here?
In the end, this may not be an either-or question, but it’s the one that’s raised by the Commerce Department’s decision last week to impose a small import duty on Chinese-made solar panels.
Some U.S. solar companies argue that China illegally subsidizes its solar manufacturers, giving them an unfair advantage and driving American firms out of business. We’re already importing $2.6 billion in Chinese solar panels, accounting for 47 percent of the market (compared to 27 percent for American solar firms). Given America’s jobs crisis, we can’t afford to miss any opportunities in the growing field of “green jobs.”
Yet the U.S. solar industry wasn’t united on