Trump’s ITC Shoots USA In Solar Foot

“The ITC’s decision is disappointing for nearly 9,000 U.S. solar companies and the 260,000 Americans they employ. Foreign-owned companies that brought business failures on themselves are attempting to exploit American trade laws to gain a bailout for their bad investments.
 
Analysts say Suniva’s remedy proposal will double the price of solar, destroy two-thirds of demand, erode billions of dollars in investment and unnecessarily force 88,000 Americans to lose their jobs in 2018.”
 
See SEIA Statement on Anti-Solar ITC Decision
Pity USA! Not only are they saddled with a dinosaur in the Oval Office, the International Trade Commission has decided international trade in solar panels is unfair. This will likely mean a huge rise in the price of solar panels greatly curtailing deployment.

Fortunately, I live in Canada and expect the price of solar panels to continue falling as USA sharply drops its demand for the product. There is a silver lining. It will be even less expensive for me to power my future Solo EV by sunshine.

See also https://www.usitc.gov/press_room/news_release/2017/er0922ll832.htm

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.

This entry was posted in politics, technology and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Trump’s ITC Shoots USA In Solar Foot

  1. oiaohm says:

    Grece if you want the big difference between USA and China when it comes to manufacturing. The China government owned bank gives out low interest loans for companies investing in production equipment that are 100 percent China made and have their operations in China. So of course the companies in China can afford to have more up-to date equipment than most of their USA competitors.

    So its not that the currency is low its not that the wages are low as these differences are not larger than the shipping in lot of different productions this include solar panels. The difference is investment. Its one of the things a lot of solar panel making companies in China have insane debt levels from always being able to buy the latest equipment.

    A loan system like the China would likely create USA jobs. Regulated Quality control to make competition more fair would be another go thing.

    https://www.sunpower.com.au/why-sunpower/high-efficiency-solar-technology/
    Sunpower is a USA company manufacturing in China and Mexico because loans are better their for equipment.

    https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/sunpower-sma-choose-discreetly-manufacture-china/
    The majority of solar panels to come out of China are Tier1 companies yet majority out of USA are Tier 2/3. Please note Tier levels refer to financial stability and the ability to update equipment not the quality of panels produced. So a company could make the best solar panel on earth yet be a Tier 3 or lower because they do not have the money to keep on updating their manufacturing gear so cannot be trusted to be long term competitive or around in 25 years. Big factor is interest on cost of machines.

  2. oiaohm says:

    Grece take Australian tafe and basic university english course some time. Then find out that shock horror what I write conforms as acceptable work to submit and be passed in maths and science degrees and trades.

    Grece really go take some english course yourself.

    Huh? That has to be the stupidest analogy, I have ever read in my life.
    Its because the arguement for tariff protection with solar panels is that stupid. Tariff protection does not fix the lack of investment in manufacturing gear causing the factories uncompetitive right. All it does is encourage the other side who has the money to investment in equipment to invest more.

    Grece I have 30+ english qualifications. This is why I know the more rules of english than you do. This is also why people get caught out picking on my english. I was taught too many different ways of english and you are now suggesting I go out and do another english course and add another one to the mix. Someone is a idiot and its not me. I am a clear example why attempting to teach person everything about english is a very bad idea due to the nature of english.

  3. Grece says:

    Deaf Spy you are suffering from being the person who lawn is dieing who is looking over the fence to see another garden where the grass is green and attempting to have that person water cut off.

    Huh? That has to be the stupidest analogy, I have ever read in my life.

    HamDong, I know you wont respond to this message, as I am not using your “proper” name, but for Pete’s sake, would you learn how to use grammar and take an English course!

  4. oiaohm says:

    Deaf Spy currency being pegged does not change the fact that transport costs from China to the USA is higher than wage cost to produce solar panels in the USA using the most up-to date equipment.

    The problem is the factory that makes factories. So USA making the factory equipment is more expensive than same equipment made in China as making product plant equipment is more labor intensive. So putting tariff on solar panels how is this going to make USA factories making solar panels have the latest equipment for the fastest and cheapest production at an affordable price.

    Deaf Spy you are suffering from being the person who lawn is dieing who is looking over the fence to see another garden where the grass is green and attempting to have that person water cut off. Factory equipment is key to production price in countries with high wages. You can think of it as factory equipment is like water to a lawn. Of course a place with low wages can get away without having as much equipment.

    The reality is once you have enough volume of production that the cost in production is lower than transport cost you don’t need tariffs any more. You do need regulation so parties cannot dump poorer grade product or product they are selling at a loss on you.

    There is a lot of production that could happen in the USA if the factory making factories problem can be handled so that all the factories being supplied from the factory making factories can stay modern and competitive. This is a keystone without it all the other parts around end up collapsing.

  5. Deaf Spy says:

    Robert, Robert… Will you start comprehending your own sources?

    Here is what your own source says:

    A higher U.S. dollar means the yuan is also appreciating relative to all other currencies, thereby reducing China’s trade competitiveness.

    Yuan is pegged. Period.

    Then we have this:

    That’s why a growing number of prominent voices expect Beijing to de-peg the yuan as soon as 2017.

    Rumors, Rumors. Yuan is still pegged.

    Btw, unpegging the yuan will be very interesting. If your source is correct in their predictions, it will get cheaper to USD, and slightly cheaper to EUR. Which will boost China’s export.

    On the other hand, the high Chinese export is very likely to boost the Yuan and make is even more expensive to USD and EU, thus making the export suffer further. On the other hand, that would balance both the capital and stock markets. Of course, to make this step easy, China’s central bank will have to sell many dollars from their reserves. Many. Which, btw, is again interference in the “free” market.

    Robert, why don’t you just admit you are clueless?

  6. Deaf Spy wrote, ” how can pegging the currency be considered a “free market” practice? It can’t.”

    The basket of currencies against which RMB is pegged are traded freely.

    See http://etfdb.com/yuan-devaluation/yuan-pegged-or-not-that-is-the-question/

  7. Deaf Spy says:

    Clearly, Deaf Spy does not understand that currency has its own markets.

    Robert, then why the Yuan is pegged? And, how can pegging the currency be considered a “free market” practice? It can’t.

  8. oiaohm says:

    Deaf Spy China general wages might be lower. But in the solar panel production world wages between the USA and China are the same. There are survey papers of wages and costs of solar panel production in China and the USA.

    http://fortune.com/2015/06/18/china-is-utterly-and-totally-dominating-solar-panels/

    It does make a very big difference when you have the money to buy the latest equipment. Solar panels no longer up to use in China standards are basically dumped on the USA and everyone else.

    Please note these loans in 2015 these have not stopped. China companies get loans to buy new equipment to produce more volume with lower labour cost has been happening year after year.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-14/first-solar-making-panels-more-cheaply-than-china-s-top-supplier.

    Here is the kicker. First Solar in the USA in 2016 was and still able to produce solar panels in the USA cheaper than China made ones at the same grade.

    So lets say USA mandated a min effectiveness and durability level by regulation there is no reason why USA makers of solar panels then could not out compete their China competitors.

    Deaf Spy shocking one to most people. Is the cost of shipping from China to the USA of a solar panel is higher than the USA wage cost to produce the same solar panel. So it does not matter how cheap the China wages are solar panel this market it would have to be negative for the USA firms to be losing when producing solar panels at the same quality level.

    Robert is right that a tariff is protectionism in the wrong way. That will allow USA solar panel makers to be less competitive in quality and still be the dumping ground for cheap lower grade panels. Recycling panels is a fairly costly process. So china sending the poor quality panels to the USA at a loss is cheaper than recycling them.

    The reality is some products china distance and transport costs should be all that is required to make USA production of those items happen as long as the USA company and the China company has to produce to the same quality standards. No currency tricks can get around this.

  9. Deaf Spy wrote, “China is getting an advantage in their export by keeping yuan cheaper than the market would determine”.

    Clearly, Deaf Spy does not understand that currency has its own markets. Flows of capital determine the values of currency. China is doing well. True capitalists should celebrate that.

  10. Deaf Spy says:

    AFAIK trade with China is done in USD.

    Irrelevant. At the end of the deal, the Chinese traders sell USD to buy Yuan to pay costs, salaries, their local suppliers, etc.

    Further, the Renminbi floats along with a basket of currency and is adjusted for inflation

    Exactly, Robert. The Renminbi is not allowed to deviate from a centrally controlled spread, and keeps in pace with USD / EUR / etc. As a result, China is getting an advantage in their export by keeping yuan cheaper than the market would determine.

    This, Robert, is not free market. Quit living in a parallel universe of ignorance.

  11. Deaf Spy wrote, “China are keeping their prices low via the controlled value of the yuan”.

    AFAIK trade with China is done in USD. Further, the Renminbi floats along with a basket of currency and is adjusted for inflation. Quit blaming central control for that. China has moved to a market economy pretty well for a decade. Quit living in the past. It’s not happening.

  12. Deaf Spy says:

    …regulated by government exclusion of competition? They rise. So, USAian economy suffers from soviet-style inefficiency.

    Uhh, Robert, how on Earth did you come up with this ridiculous conclusion? Protectionism has nothing to do with “soviet-style inefficiency”, and I am pretty sure you have absolutely no idea how the Soviet economy was trying to work.

    Protecting one’s economy from Chinese imported goods is justified because China are keeping their prices low via the controlled value of the yuan. USA is definitely not alone here.

  13. Grece wrote, “Amercans should be building with American products, not shoddy crap from China”.

    You know what happens when prices are regulated by government exclusion of competition? They rise. So, USAian economy suffers from soviet-style inefficiency. Great. Yeh, Great Again, just like USSR. Know what happened to them? See Venezuela…

  14. oiaohm says:

    https://onestepoffthegrid.com.au/german-battery-giant-teams-australian-solar-tile-maker-take-tesla/
    Elon Musk and his solar tile innovation, will seriously rock the boat in the solar industry forcing the other companies to change their product line.
    Who made the factory for the Elon Musk solar tile. Yep EU company Sonnen.

    Amercans should be building with American products, not shoddy crap from China.
    This is the thing a lot of stuff out of USA factories is coming from either China or EU made factories. The big issue with not making the factory is that you can have instant overseas competition because you don’t have 100 percent control of your intellectual property. Tesla uses a lot of overseas made production lines some from China and some from EU.

    All the solar workers will be using American solar tiles, its all good.
    You can fairly much kiss good by to exports if USA puts tariffs on solar entering the USA because normal result of import tariffs is increased local price.

    Its very important to control the factories that makes factories because its the major reason why America made solar tiles does not have the big risk of being dominate because they lost exclusivity of product.

    Grece really you are without a question a loon for making a death threat by many countries define. It would have helped if you had done more research on the example you chose to use because it more support my point.

  15. Grece says:

    This will likely mean a huge rise in the price of solar panels greatly curtailing deployment.

    Rather doubtful Robert.

    Amercans should be building with American products, not shoddy crap from China. Elon Musk and his solar tile innovation, will seriously rock the boat in the solar industry forcing the other companies to change their product line. Who wants ugly rectangles on their roof, or out front their home like you Robert show casing an eye-sore.

    All the solar workers will be using American solar tiles, its all good.

  16. Grece says:

    10:1 HamDong, everyone here would agree with I, that you are a loon.

  17. oiaohm says:

    Grece no one asked for your invalid options either yet you give them normally badly researched and incorrect bias to suit you own point of view. Only a idiot like you would threaten. The reality is you had research properly if you go back and read what Robert said on the topic you can see that you are a idiot.

  18. oiaohm says:

    Of course you conveniently ignored network effects. Aka the jobs created by building a US factory, the jobs the building materials for the US factory create, the jobs the construction of the infrastructure for the factory creates (roads), the jobs the manufacture and assembly of the automated machinery creates if forced to be made in the US, jobs created by increase in electricity demand etc.
    Kurkosdr you have ignored warehouse and the stuff on the other side supporting imports. I have not ignored the network effects and I have not done wishful thinking like you just did. “if forced” that means regulation required.

    When it comes to modern day solar panel production gear is from china or EU/Spain and is per-assembled in the shipping containers. So manufacture and assemble of the machinery for solar panel production is not done in the USA anyhow. Per watt charge on solar panels is not going to make the factories be assembled in the USA.

    jobs the construction of the infrastructure for the factory creates (roads)
    Factories and warehouses create the same here.

    No country can have a healthy job landscape if it loses its factories, deal with it.
    I have not disputed this. But the reality is that USA has already lost the factories that make factories.

    For the USA to bring back the ability to build world class factories is going to need something different than a Tariff. To force those bits to be made in the USA you will be talking regulation. Made in the USA on products does not say Made in the USA with USA made machinery. So USA solar panels are made on Spanish or china made production lines.

    Kurkosdr basically Tariff response is never going to dig the USA out of it current hole. Better regulation could.

    The factories that produce factories have higher human employee counts because they can normally not be 100 percent optimized because every person wanting a factory normally wants to tweak the production line.

    Kurkosdr in this massively automated world you not worried that much about individual factories producing 1 kind of product because if you do the result is not helpful. You need to be worried about having the factories that make factories.

    The biggest cost to solar production is having to replace the factory modules because they don’t upgrade instead get in a shipping container and replace 1 huge block.

    The tariff on per watt of solar panel is not a tariff on importing the machinery.

    Kurkosdr basically the idea of a tariff solar panels sound good on paper until look at how will work.

    USA existing solar panel factories are not at max capacity so will a tariff cause more factories to need to be built in the USA the answer is no. Will the existing factories be able to upgrade their production lines to meet the demand without employing any more people the answer is yes. In fact if the USA solar panel factories upgrade their gear they can produce 4 times as many panels with half the current work force.

    Kurkosdr automation is evil at times particularly when you get the idea of attempting to use tariff to create jobs. Tariff can cost jobs particularly when you are looking at something highly automated like the solar panel industry. Using regulation to mandate inspection and quality control on products will give you extra jobs.

  19. Grece says:

    HamDong, no one asked for your opinion. In fact, auto-erotic asphyxiation could you some good. You’re the special kind of stupid that we would send down to S4 in Army for body-bag sizing, whereby they would make you climb in a bag and zip you up and ask if you can breathe.

  20. Kurkosdr says:

    Be it China made or USA made the main job for humans is controlling inventory and doing inspections.

    Of course you conveniently ignored network effects. Aka the jobs created by building a US factory, the jobs the building materials for the US factory create, the jobs the construction of the infrastructure for the factory creates (roads), the jobs the manufacture and assembly of the automated machinery creates if forced to be made in the US, jobs created by increase in electricity demand etc.

    No country can have a healthy job landscape if it loses its factories, deal with it.

  21. oiaohm says:

    Grece really go back and read the jobs he had the chines rotatory tiller do were in fact too heavy for the USA made one. Now that those jobs are out the way going back to a smaller machine can be the correct choice. That does not make the purchase wrong in the first place.

    We can all agree that the Chinese thing was a huge waste of pension money and should be sold.
    Paying someone or loaning a machine or buying a machine to-do the same things the Chinese machine allowed him to get done would have cost more. Robert did state quote costs of the jobs that need doing. So claiming huge waste of pension money to buy is wrong. Might be a waste to hold onto it.

    Also Robert noted when he was buying it he was picking it to recycle the engine into something else due to limited number of jobs that need doing that required it power.

    Grece basically this is another case of you being a moron and letting your personal biases take you away and completely ignore the facts.

  22. oiaohm says:

    Kurkosdr you do have a point but this solar panel one is the regulation that is kind of a problem.

    A tariff of so much per watt on solar panels is kind of stupid. Thinking that solar panels have to compete with other power production on so much per watt.

    Because in an tariff-free world, first-world countries will lose all their manufacturing base to China and India, and unless you subscribe to the pipe dream that everybody will one day be a university graduate, this can’t be good.

    Some items don’t deserve a very large tariff. Some are better handled other ways.

    http://energyinformative.org/solar-panels-cost/

    The most labor in solar panel life is installing. Permits and inspection fees can be larger than the cost of the panels.

    The reality here is solar cell production in the USA is 99% automated plant. The price of electricity to run the production plant has bigger effect on cost than wages.

    Also remember that made-in-the-USA solar panels create jobs that pay for American pensions while made-in-China solar panels don’t.
    This is basically no it don’t. Be it China made or USA made the main job for humans is controlling inventory and doing inspections. So basically same number of hours of human work in the USA be it USA or China made panel. The china made panel it the dock workers and the import inspectors.

    So this is rob Peter to pay Paul problem. Now if the arguement was that china factories were not as environmentally clean as USA ones there is some grounds. The claim over jobs is baseless because all it doing is moving jobs from one area to another.

    When you get to those mega automated production the idea of creating jobs by put tariff on imports and making yourself is bogus. Also the idea of keeping the wealth inside the country mostly does not hold up either with current ways of tax avoidance.

    Remember, a true globalist looks at the Foxconn workers in China and thinks they are paid too much and work too few hours, because there are workers in India willing to work more for less.
    You missed the next line that is important.

    A India worker is paid too much when compared to a machine doing the same thing. Humans need toilets and food that brings contamination so increase silicon production failure rates. Humans need sleep that require changing staff over and make errors and get sick. Yes machines wear and need repair but this is something that has a predictable time frame unlike sickness..

    Due to how automated solar panel production is 90+ percent of the workers are only need to do visual inspection. So cameras in right location and human pushing buttons fairly much anywhere. So silicon production made in X country can be almost no one employed in that country.

    So this is area where hey we want it made in the USA only to find out you have basically made no jobs. Yes visual inspection side of silicon production with the highly automated lines means you can use the USA prison population and that can work out having cheaper labor than China labor.

    Really you want to ensure jobs pass regulation that all solar panels in the USA have to be inspected by USA people with some USA only qualification in the USA to be sold. This brings a double handling and a double labor cost to the import. See no tariff here. Tariff is only 1 way to level the competition. Regulations over quality and standards forcing inspections is another. If you are in fact after to create jobs regulation is the far better response. Regulation pushing the import price up like a Tariff while in fact truly creating jobs and reducing poor quality products in the market.

    More often than not Tariffs is the wrong method with the world of automation we need to wake up to this quite quickly.

  23. Grece says:

    Pog think that buying a Chinese roto-tiller for half the price is a good thing

    A Chinese roto-tiller that he never uses, whereby he had to buy an American tiller to do his garden work. We can all agree that the Chinese thing was a huge waste of pension money and should be sold.

  24. Kurkosdr says:

    Well, Trump promised to force people to make more stuff in America, so he is keeping a campaign promise.

    You Pog think that buying a Chinese roto-tiller for half the price is a good thing, people who work the assembly line in Canada think it is bad because they will lose their jobs to Chinese workers, and then the government would have to give them unemployment benefits, paid by the taxpayer.

    Personally, I think there is no right to tariff-free imports. Just because it is a cornerstone of globalist ideology doesn’t mean it is a good thing. Because in an tariff-free world, first-world countries will lose all their manufacturing base to China and India, and unless you subscribe to the pipe dream that everybody will one day be a university graduate, this can’t be good.

    Remember, a true globalist looks at the Foxconn workers in China and thinks they are paid too much and work too few hours, because there are workers in India willing to work more for less.

    Also remember that made-in-the-USA solar panels create jobs that pay for American pensions while made-in-China solar panels don’t. And made-in-Canada roto-tillers create jobs that pay for Canadian pensions while made-in-China roto-tillers don’t. I think you can connect the dots from here to how this relates to you being a pensioner, and how cheap Chinese imports are advantageous in the short-run but not in the long-run.

  25. Grece says:

    This is about protecting American business Robert.

    https://www.apks.com/en/perspectives/publications/2017/05/itc-launches-investigation-into-import-of-solar

    Analysts say Suniva’s remedy proposal will double the price of solar, destroy two-thirds of demand, erode billions of dollars in investment and unnecessarily force 88,000 Americans to lose their jobs in 2018.

    I feel that statement is very over the top. The demand will always be there, so long as States subsidize installations and utility provider lobbyists refrain from meddling against such needs.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/08/climate/rooftop-solar-panels-tax-credits-utility-companies-lobbying.html

    So Robert, do tell when you are putting your solar array up. I mean you could always obtain a loan from Manitoba Hydro, but don’t forget to obtain the building and electrical permits for such, then you have zoning laws to contend with and housing inspector will have to sign-off on your the work, as you the “home-owner” will not be allowed.

    You should at least start on your one-line diagram. But whatever you do, PLEASE include your cartoon sketch, the PE will laugh his ass off.

    http://mrpogson.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Solar_Shade.jpeg

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