The return of solar panel manufacturing to the United States to spark solar energy boom
While the installation of solar energy units have been undergoing a boom in the United States, the production of solar panels have languished in this country, according to a recent article in Slate. That is because from a cost basis, it only made sense of buy solar panels from China and other manufacturers in Asia. But that is about to change and consumers are likely to benefit.
First the costs of solar panels made in China are starting to rise. This is because the federal government has slapped a 35 percent tariff on the panels it retaliation for China unfairly subsidizing the product. Also wages are starting to rise in China, increasing solar panel manufacturers’ labor costs.
At the same time domestic solar panel producers have responded to competition by ramping up volume and instituting other cost cutting measures such as efficiency and automation. Domestic solar panel manufacturers such as SolarCity and Suniva are building solar panel factories in the United States.
Right now domestic solar panel manufacturers are filling a rising demand from the military for solar power systems. But as capacity grows, they will be competitive in the domestic market as well. America is the world’s second-largest supplier of polysilicon, which is used to make solar panels. Currently a lot of the product is sent to China and is returned in the form of finished panels. In domestic solar panel manufacturing takes off, more of the material will stay in the United States.
Solar Panel manufacturing has taken a black eye in the United States due to government inspired boondoggles such as Solyndra. But now it looks like that the free market is going to accomplish what the government largely could not do, causing a solar panel industry to rise again in this country. Lower transportation costs and better availability cannot but benefit people interested in going solar.
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