A group of eight industrial companies including DuPont Co., (DD) Siemens AG (SIE) and Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. joined to create a lobby group supporting solar energy and opposing dumping complaints that could slow installations.
The Global Solar Council aims to promote photovoltaic power worldwide in a “sustainable and cost-competitive way,” especially in developing nations, according to a statement today. The companies favor government support for the industry and wants to work against inter-government disputes holding back trade.
The group adds weight to voices in the solar industry opposing complaints from companies including SolarWorld AG, which say Chinese companies are dumping low-cost panels on U.S. and European markets. The complaint led to tariffs on panels that may drive up the cost of solar power for consumers.
“The council’s mission is to promote the global development and growth of solar energy,” Roland-Jan Meijer, its newly appointed executive director, said by e-mail. “One of its objectives, therefore, is to create awareness among stakeholders that free and open market conditions are essential to maintain a thriving global market.”
In March, the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed duties on panels imported from China after seven manufacturers led by SolarWorld AG (SWV) said Chinese makers benefit from unfair government subsidies. A final ruling on May 16 may impose additional anti- dumping duties.
A similar complaint to that in the U.S. is being discussed in Europe, and there’s speculation China may retaliate by looking into the imports of polysilicon, said Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Neither are likely to come to much, she said.
Another group of U.S. companies, the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, is lobbying against the duties, arguing that they would increase panel prices and cost jobs.
The other five founding members of the Global Solar Council are First Solar Inc. (FSLR), Dow Corning Corp., Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT), as well as India’s Lanco Infratech Ltd. (LANCI) and Germany’s Phoenix Solar AG. (PS4) The invitation-only group is talking to other companies and aims to have no more than 15 members, according to the director.