The US government’s continued subsidies for coal, natural gas and oil, and the failure of US politicians to support investment in solar power, has led to a collapse of the US photovoltaic cell manufacturing industry. In one year the US has gone from being a net exporter of solar panels to being a net importer, in a big way.
Chinese manufacturing of PV cells is now so far advanced that US manufacturers can no longer compete. US manufacturers claim that the Chinese are “dumping” their panels in the US. “Dumping” is selling your goods at below your cost to manufacture them in another country to capture that country’s market. Whether there is dumping going on now is not clear. What is clear is that US government policy over the past thirty years, which favors hydrocarbon-based energy over sun-based energy, has destroyed the US PV industry. That is not the fault of the Chinese.
The facts are clear. US citizens want the ability to create their own power using PV cells. Rooftop solar power is growing rapidly. These panels have to be made somewhere. If the US government won’t support US businesses, then these panels will come from China.