One would think that the recent plunge taken by solar panel prices throughout the world would be good news, but it’s anything but a pleasant development for American firms in the solar energy sector.
For a number of people in the industry, the upsurge in solar panels produced in and imported from Asia over the past several months throws a wrench into their plans to build panel assembly factories throughout the United States. Indeed, some worry that, despite being a response to President Joe Biden’s call for initiatives meant to mitigate the impact of climate change, such factories may prove to be an economic bust.
As of August of this year, the shipment of solar equipment into the United States has grown from $4 billion per annum last year to around $10 billion. As a result, domestic solar companies and related trade organizations hope to seek further assistance on the federal and state levels in order to keep their initiatives on track regardless of the influx of foreign imports.
Meanwhile in Europe, the influx of Asian panel imports and their much cheaper cost than domestically produced items has also cast a damper on manufacturers throughout the region.
A Greater Challenge
For Edurne Zoco, S&P Global Commodity Insights executive director for clean energy technology, US manufacturers will be hard-pressed to gain a foothold in the sector as prices continue to drop globally. He explained that if the price gap between imported and local products remains wide, then it is possible that some companies will need to shelve their plans.
Such a dismal outlook could also jeopardize the current administration’s initiatives regarding climate change. They also stand to jinx Biden’s potential reelection as it had been hoped that the solar projects resulting from his policies for clean energy could generate more jobs for the American people.