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Published on January 9th, 2012 | by Jigar Shah

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Solar Trade Dispute: Jigar Shah Response

January 9th, 2012 by  


solar energy trade dispute

Last week, I posted letters from Jigar Shah (President of Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy) and a response from Hari Chandra Polavarapu (Managing Director of Solar/Cleantech Research at AURIGA USA LLC). As an update, here’s a response to Hari from Jigar:

I want to thank Hari Chandra Polavarapu, the Managing Director of Solar/Cleantech Research at AURIGA USA LLC, who wrote a post to educate me.

Hari, I write to you not from one trading desk, but representing the 1,000 or more rooftops where I have deployed solar.

I write to you representing more than 97 percent of the U.S. solar industry. These are the people who have not only visited factories where solar panels are manufactured, but who have actually worked in those factories, and many more who have worked assembling, installing, and maintaining solar systems.

At a trading desk, one is managing portfolios, trading prices of commodities like solar panels and more. You may even be concerned about the cost of silicon chips used in computing (but we are not complaining about the low cost of silicon chips
manufactured outside the U.S. in this dialogue).

Every day, we, the actual people who work in the solar industry, are interested in growing the deployment of solar, particularly at a cost that creates grid parity, location by location. More importantly, we are interested in preserving and growing
the 100,000 American jobs in the industry, which, according to the 2011 National Solar Jobs Census published by the Solar Foundation, grew 6.8 percent between 2010 and 2011 — nearly ten times higher than the national average employment rate
of 0.7 percent.

Real jobs. Real people. Using real tools.

By the way — on the theoretical stuff, many of your colleagues disagree with you and might provide you with a bit of insight and education. See below:

Photon Consulting: “Overall, trade restrictions between the U.S. and China will destroy value in the global PV sector. Equally important, imposition of artificially higher prices for solar consumers would undoubtedly slow the adoption of solar
power in key markets such as the US.”

Jefferies: “The U.S. solar industry, already suffering from a lack of financing, will experience higher module prices and lower demand if countervailing duties are imposed as early as March 2012.”

Axiom: “There is simply more supply than there is demand,” Johnson said. “It’s very simple economics.” And it’s not the Chinese’s fault, Johnson said: “You can’t complain because a guy is beating you,” Johnson said.

AEI Research: “Higher module prices are likely to lower the excess return, putting solar energy at risk of losing years of economic potential as a result.”

SEMI: “This case could lead to significant price increases that could have a significant deleterious impact on SEMI members, many of whom are upstream providers of high-value-added equipment and materials. It will also impact
downstream service providers, such as installers, where a majority of solar industry jobs are concentrated.”

Solar installer image via shutterstock 
 
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About the Author

is a co-founder at Generate Capital and the author of Creating Climate Wealth: Unlocking the Impact Economy, 2013 Icosa Publishing. Shah unlocked the multi-billion-dollar worldwide solar industry with a business model innovation (Power Purchase Agreement), not a new technology. This model created SunEdison, once the largest solar services companies worldwide. Jigar Shah has shown that business model innovation applied to the biggest challenge of our lifetime – climate change – will unlock a $10 trillion new economy. After SunEdison was sold in 2009, Jigar served through 2012 as the first CEO of the Carbon War Room — the global organization founded by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Unite to help entrepreneurs address climate change. SunEdison and Carbon War Room proved that we could make positive change through business and financial model innovation in many industries. Today, as CEO of Jigar Shah Consulting, he works with global companies in a multitude of industries to deploy existing clean energy solutions fueled by new business models.



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