News Column

Coalition of 150 Solar Employers Shows Widespread Support for U.S. Solar Manufacturing

Nov. 28, 2011

About 150 U.S. solar-industry employers of more than 11,000 American workers have joined the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) to support the U.S. government's investigation of China's solar trade practices and the restoration of fair, sustainable, international solar-industry competition.

The numbers include seven U.S. solar manufacturers that have joined to stop what CASM calls China's state-sponsored solar industry from allegedly using export-oriented subsidies to dump exports into the U.S. market and harm American manufacturers and workers. Without a production cost advantage, China is deploying a staggering volume and array of subsidies to underwrite its production largely for export at dumped prices, according to CASM. The campaign has triggered trade petition drives to hold China accountable not just in the United States but also in Australia and Europe.

The U.S. coalition includes dozens of solar suppliers and installers from across the country, many of whom have issued impassioned pleas to preserve fair trade and U.S. jobs.

"We are gratified, but not surprised, to see this showing of support from such a broad cross-section of the American solar industry," said Ben Santarris, U.S. head of corporate communications. "We know that support for domestic manufacturing is deep and pervasive. It's great to see that it's also resolute enough to stand up and be counted and heard."

A sampling of the coalition's associate members and their viewpoints:

Mark Becker, president, Semper Fidelis Construction Inc., nine employees, California: "Free and fair trade is an American value. The current policies of the People's Republic of China are not examples of free and fair trade. Devalued currency and government-propped businesses that can sell their products at a loss are putting Americans out of work."

Christopher Maingot, project development, Superior Solar Systems, 25 employees, Florida: "Solar manufacturing in the U.S. needs support. Heavily subsidized Chinese imports are killing the American solar manufacturing industry. This is a growing Industry that has the ability to put a lot of out-of-work Americans to work and to put America in the forefront of a very lucrative and important energy source going forward."

Luke Uzupis, co-founder, Amped On Solar, 10 employees, New Jersey: "From day one, our mission has included supporting American jobs and the American economy. Unfair practices by off-shore manufacturers and U.S. companies who support those products have made it difficult for us to remain competitive."

James Coger, president, Custom Home & Commercial Electronics, 25 employees, Arizona: "When there is a level playing field, American business can compete with any country. The subsidies China provides to its solar PV panel manufacturers make for an illegal environment, making it impossible for any country to compete in the one-sided market!"

Source: Copyright Business Wire 2011

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