Gordon Brinser, president, and Kevin Kilkelly, president of U.S. sales, represented Oregon-based SolarWorld and the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) in testimony before the International Trade Commission (ITC) Nov. 8.
According to the CASM, Brinser and Kilkelly sought to document how Chinese manufacturers are flooding the U.S. market with solar products and how the tactic, combined with massive government subsidies, has devastated American domestic manufacturers and jobs.
‘By any measure, the imports of Chinese crystalline silicon cells and modules are injuring the domestic industry and threaten the domestic industry with even further injury,’ Brinser said in his testimony. ‘From their executives' statements and by their actions, the Chinese producers' plans are clear: They intend to dominate the U.S. solar industry at the expense of the domestic industry and our suppliers.’
Brinser presented evidence that Chinese exports of solar cells and solar panels to the U.S. rose more than 350% from 2008 to 2010 and continue to rise. In fact, exports from China in July exceeded those from all of 2010, according to Brinser and the CASM.
‘Market prices simply do not seem to apply to the Chinese producers,’ Kilkelly said. ‘Rather than allowing increased efficiencies to steadily decrease costs and prices, the Chinese government continues to pump billions of dollars of subsidies into their solar industry to build massive amounts of excess capacity. Nearly 95 percent of their production capacity is targeted toward export markets, including the United States.Â
‘Chinese producers' only goal is to push huge volumes of cells and modules into the U.S. and other markets through extremely low prices,’ he continued.
The CASM contends that the surge in Chinese solar manufacturing and exporting has been the primary cause for a 40% decline in world market prices over the past year. Moreover, the coalition says, the proliferation of these products has caused seven U.S. manufacturers to either close or downsize operations.
In its petitions, SolarWorld has asked the federal government to impose duties to defend the domestic makers of crystalline silicon cells.