According to the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM), imports of Chinese PV cells and panels fell by over $500 million between 2011 and 2012.
CASM is led by Oregon-based PV module producer SolarWorld, and is the group that began the process that led to import duties of up to 250% on Chinese PV products entering the U.S.
In November 2012, imports of Chinese solar cells and panels were worth $1.65 billion – down from $2.25 billion for the same period in 2011.
CASM attributed this decline in imports to a “reflect the market’s growing recognition of the costs and risks associated with importing Chinese solar products” taking into account the recent import duties.
Quality inspection station in module assembly at the SolarWorld manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon. Photo Credit: SolarWorld
“The tide of the Chinese government’s intervention in the U.S. solar market is showing signs of receding,” said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld.
“The relief could not come too soon. Workers for most manufacturers have suffered widespread cuts, and the finances of Western and Chinese companies alike have fared poorly. Unlike Chinese counterparts, however, the strongest non-Chinese operators cannot depend on their government to prop them up as they endure the consequences of China’s illegal trade practices.”
However, some argue that the fall in imports is not necessarily a result of the import duties, but could be because of weak demand in the U.S. or higher demand for PV modules within China making exporting less lucrative.