US Solar Panel Makers Say China 'Gutting' Industry

Discussion in 'Economics' started by nutmeg, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. I want to ask dumb question.

    Now if our goal is low cost, renewable, green energy, what is wrong with achieving this goal with buying Solar panels from subsidized China mfgs?

    Indirectly, China would be subsidizing our ability to produce low cost energy.

    If it is lost jobs arguement, wouldn't it make more sense to use the savings of the imported product and use the money to subsidize the installation rather than the actual product, like the failure of Solyndra?
  2. That is the goal of the environmentalists. Domestic panel makers are like any other company, maximizing profits. Can't do that with all these cheap china panels.
  3. I recently had the chance to ride along with my buddy who is a ship pilot on the Houston Ship Channel. We went out off Galveston and boarded a Russian flagged cargo ship that was carrying pipe. The crew was Russian and the bridge smelled of horrible B.O. Mind you, this is the first time I have ever been on the bridge of a commercial vessel, but I am told the only bridges that smell worse than the Russians, is the Indians.

    Anyway getting to the point, the ship was not in what you would think was good shape, turns out it was only 2 years old, when Dave found that out he said, "must be made in China". He asked the captain, "yes, China". I asked Dave how he knew that, he said the Chinese made ships are barely even seaworthy on their maiden voyage let alone lasting a normal sea life.

    He said everything the Chinese build is of poor quality, not that any of this is news to you guys, however it should make buyers of their shit at subpar prices, worry. Sure, save a few bucks up front, but replacement costs in a few years on your falling apart panels will be even more expensive due to future inflation.
  4. jprad


    As far as jobs go, is there parity from a labor hours/compensation perspective when comparing a solar panel manufacturing job to an installer's job?

    As for the costs you mentioned, there's much more than acquisition and installation costs involved. What about the reliability, maintenance, service life and efficiency costs that are all on-going costs? Is the sum total of those factors a net advantage compared to domestic panels?

    Then there's the subsidized costs to deal with. If the panels are being sold for less than their cost to manufacture you need to consider the likelihood of disruptive changes in the acquisition of panels once the US solar panel industry has been eliminated.
  5. goliz


    granted, China suffers from endemic corner cutting and this is a managerial headache for any purchaser; but to suggest that everything made in china is of poor quality is inflammatory and plain incorrect.

    I am in the Solar industry working in China and have been trying to be a calm voice of reason it what has been a crazy 2-3 years of boom and bust in foreign solar markets. Governments just don't plan these things well (save except the Germans possibly).

    Back to Chinese products though...take your Ship example for instance. It's a perfect microcosm from which to examine China purchasing on the whole. The beauty and the curse of China is that you can get anything and name your price. If you go in at the lowest cost point they can make you something cheap with no certification...but they are also capable of making quality products. I have done work with Germanischer Lloyd out here, who's job it is to certify ship's 'ocean worthiness'. They have no problem with the quality of ship building here as anyone who requires their certificates needs to adhere to strict international guidelines...much of the engineering management is still done by foreigners in any case. You can go and get a poor quality ship if you want it though... so who's responsibility is it? The seller or the buyer?
  6. pretty much that's BS actually.

    If everything was of poor quality, my god, everything that we have in our possession would be breaking down all the time. The kettle would explode every 3 days, my slow cooker would break into a million pieces , heck the chair i am sitting on would collapse, my plates would simply crack the moment i put it in the microwave and I would have to buy a new TV every month.

    I have had my fair share of shitty stuff, but i also have stuff like my made in china older generation ipod which must be a godzillion years old and still works.

    Of course we hear that all the time that EVERYTHING china makes is of poor quality but precisely because everything is made in China, it is not surprising that when something breaks down and you turn over and look at the label it says "made in china".

    I am not saying there is no poor quality stuff coming out of China but because it's market size is so large, you erroneously make false assumptions about the quality of the product based on its provenance. In short, you have engaged in various heuristic fallacies and biases.

    FWIW, my first Benz gave me tons of problems from the get go
    and I have had two sony vaios, both TZ series, made in japan which broke down within the last 5 years.