Trade War Looms In Solar Industry

07 Sept. 2009 by

REUTERS - Fair competition or Save the Planet? That could ultimately be at play as China and the West, long at odds over trade in steel, textiles and auto parts, risk being sucked into a row over protectionism in renewable energy equipment such as solar panels.

German solar firms Conergy and Solarworld have voiced strong concern about the pricing practices of Chinese panel makers -- who undercut their German peers' products by around 20 percent. Chinese modules sell in Europe at about 1.70 euros per watt, according to a UBS report.

Industry experts say U.S. firms share those German concerns.

Germany's BSW solar industry association is looking into allegations of dumping by Chinese rivals as Conergy rallies support to call on the European Union to examine Chinese pricing tactics.

"It cannot be the aim of our environmental and economic policy to lose to the Far East our pioneering role with regard to the last great future technology, which was raised here with great efforts," said Dieter Ammer, CEO at Conergy, Germany's second-biggest solar firm by revenue.

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