Greentech Lead America: The government of China recently issued
a new Five-Year Plan for solar that calls for escalation in government
sponsorship for export-intensive, price-subsidized trade.
The campaign calls for a number of government
initiatives, including new policy, financial and price subsidies; more support
in industry, financial and tax policy; and further aid with development and
production of equipment used to produce polysilicon, silicon ingots, wafers,
cells and panels within the crystalline-silicon solar industry.
Additionally it includes plans to support
industrialization of China’s as-yet-undeveloped thin-film industry,
specifically harnessing silicon and copper indium gallium diselenide solar
The Five-Year Plan provides for even greater government
control and support of its industry, according to an analysis commissioned by
the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM).
“These plans significantly increase the
government’s control over the development of the solar industry, permitting the
government to manage virtually every aspect of the industry,” analysts at
CASM said. “Substantial government assistance is also mandated to carry
out the goals identified in these plans.”
The Five Year Plan designate solar among seven
“strategic emerging industries” that warrant massive government
support, preferential treatment and tight control, according to the analysis.
News reports put total subsidies for all seven industries at $1.5 trillion.
In its recently published solar plan for the period
through 2015, the Chinese government revealed the government’s resolve to
ensure the industry’s continued rapid development by directly managing its
planning, policy and growth.
China has amassed production capacity that is 32 times
greater than domestic demand, resulting in about 95 percent of Chinese solar
production being exported overseas. CASM contends that China’s illegal
subsidization of its export drive has enabled its industry to dump product in
the U.S. market and unfairly capture market share since 2008.
During the same period, the number of China’s solar
manufacturers listed among the world’s 10 largest has rocketed from just one to
seven in 2011. Meanwhile, at least 12 crystalline silicon U.S. manufacturers
have shuttered plants, declared bankruptcy or staged layoffs.
Significantly, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
has concluded that Chinese producers face a cost disadvantage in producing and
delivering solar technology to the U.S. market, compared with domestic
China’s new Five-Year Plan provides even greater support
for exports than previous government plans that delivered more than half of
world industry market share to the Chinese industry, according to the analysis.
The 2011-2015 plan calls for the consolidation of
“the industry’s position in the international market,” partly by
identifying and promoting “national champions,” so that “Chinese
PV enterprises’ international influence will be greatly enhanced” and be
better able “to cope with international competition and market risks.”
“The Chinese government launched a trade war
against the U.S. domestic industry, took over the leadership of the largest
American industry trade association and began driving U.S. solar manufacturing
pioneers out of business,” said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld
Industries America, the largest U.S. solar manufacturer for more than 35 years.
“Our coalition of U.S. producers contested the
illegal Chinese governmental interference in the U.S. market and sought
enforcement of U.S. and international trade law. In response, China has rolled
out a host of initiatives to further manipulate pricing, snuff out competition
and solidify its domination — all on foreign soil. Needless to say, China
allows no foreign competition on its own soil.”
“China is steamrolling American manufacturing and
jobs and breaking its trade commitments in plain sight,” Brinser said.
“No wonder the American public has grown increasingly anxious about the
state of U.S.-China trade. China is scoffing at international trade