Battle on the Solar Front
Despite the fact that solar power is positioned to a be a invaluable part of the future of energy for the entire globe, one could easily make the argument that there is a type of a solar war that exists between America and China. However, this conflict is occurring on the front of technology. Like many of the arms wars of the past, the battle for solar supremacy involves a tech race with the ultimate prize being energy independence and, consequently, a huge amount of economic influence on the world stage. Many people are already making these types of comparisons, blaming the slow down of solar America in terms of technological development on the cheaper imports in forms of this technology from solar China.
The Balance Comes Into Question
Specifically, Chinese solar technology is allowing them to produce and import PV (silicone photovoltaic) cells at much cheaper prices than the majority of the world, essentially undercutting other nations where making a profit is concerned with advancing this form of energy technology. The huge drop in prices for these items on the global market is causing tensions to rise between solar China and solar America. Additionally, the European Union is feeling the strain as well. Researchers at institutions such as MIT are claiming that the impact that Chinese solar technology is having on a global scale is likely to harm the solar industry as a whole while simultaneously cause irreparable damages to trade relations between themselves and the United States.
The Stakes Are Rising
Both nations are beginning to point the finger at one another as the market spirals more noticeably with each passing year. However, as Chinese solar panels flood the market, the global supply increases while the average solar market price plummets, threatening jobs and innovation in this area around the globe. Studies have revealed that the price of PV panels dropped to below one dollar per watt with China supplying up to 50 percent of the imports in the United States.
Because everyone is having trouble competing with China on a global scale, the United States is taking action in order to combat the change in average solar prices. The U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission has issued tariffs on materials and technologies coming out of China in order to stabilize things. However, China is also threatening to impose their own tariffs on technology coming to their borders from the United States in response.
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