Would an intervention by Washington to save this industry end up destroying it? That’s the question confronting the solar industry as the U.S. International Trade Commission meets this week on a petition to protect domestic manufacturers with tariffs on solar panel imports and price supports.
The commission will hear competing views at a meeting on August 15 and has said it will make a preliminary ruling in late September on whether the petitioners, a pair of domestic manufacturers that have filed for bankruptcy, have been so badly injured by imports that they need relief.
“We could see a double whammy of higher prices and declining subsidies, which could have a pretty serious effect on U.S. solar deployment,” said Dan Reicher, executive director of Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance. “We don’t know how the commission is going to rule, so it’s hard to speculate about the actual impacts on carbon reduction goals and energy efficiency. But higher solar technology costs can only give a leg up to other technologies.”Read More