War of Words: Top Quotes From the Solar Industry’s Latest Salvo Over Trade

Greentech Media

8/17/17

On Tuesday, more than 40 witnesses spoke in front of trade commissioners in Washington, offering up their thoughts about a controversial petition submitted by Suniva and SolarWorld.

The two financially troubled solar manufacturers are lobbying for harsh penalties on imported solar panels. Most others in the U.S. solar industry want commissioners to quash the case, fearing the downstream consequences.

The commission is expected to complete its investigation of the Section 201 petition by September 22. In the meantime, we’ve compiled some noteworthy quotes to give readers a sense of how the day played out.

To set scene, let’s begin with Suniva and SolarWorld’s rationale for why the U.S. needs solar import tariffs and price minimums.

Suniva’s attorney, Matthew McConkey:

“If there’s ever been a 201 case where a finding of serious injury is warranted, it’s this one,” said McConkey in his opening remarks. “The United States is literally strewn with the carcasses of shuttered solar manufacturing facilities.”

“The data set forth in the commission’s staff report reveals a domestic industry that is literally on the precipice of being extinguished. U.S. module manufacturers suffered net losses exceeding a billion dollars over a five-year period,” said McConkey. “If this isn’t serious injury, then that concept has no meaning.”

“Even as U.S. demand for solar products increased from 2012 to 2016, foreign suppliers -- including those in China, Korea, Canada and Malaysia -- began capturing an even larger share of the U.S. market. But then we saw module prices drop by a third in the second half of 2016, during a year when all imports increased by 50 percent from the previous year.”

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