Greentech Media has provided detailed analysis of the SolarWorld China solar panel dumping trade claim and provided a platform for perspectives on all sides of this dispute. We’ve published more than 20 pieces on the topic since the claim was filed in October of last year.
But in sitting with this issue for the last few months and with the help of a number of industry insiders, I’ve come to a conclusion.
It just doesn’t matter.
China’s solar companies and its government have seen the writing on the wall and realize that tariffs are likely. The U.S. government is going to mete out some punishment, and perhaps the EU and India will, as well. China might have to pay some retroactive fines and face a tariff.
The tariff will essentially force the regionalization of solar panel manufacturing.
Right now boats are shipping solar manufacturing equipment from China to Taiwan, adding module capacity to Taiwan’s gigawatts’ worth of cell capacity. Just as General Electric has established in-country corporations and operations close to its customers and markets, Chinese solar manufacturers will start new companies and joint ventures that can produce trade-compliant products via regionalized manufacturing.