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Solar Panels From China

The U.S. has slapped big tariffs on Chinese solar panels. So, what do we need more? To go green or buy American?

n this photo taken Nov. 18, 2011 and released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese work on the production line at a solar panel factory of the Eoplly New Energy Technology Co., Ltd. in Nantong City, east China's Jiangsu Province. A federal trade panel voted Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 to investigate whether Chinese companies are harming the U.S. solar panel industry by dumping low-price products on global markets. (AP)

In this photo taken Nov. 18, 2011 and released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese work on the production line at a solar panel factory of the Eoplly New Energy Technology Co., Ltd. in Nantong City, east China's Jiangsu Province. (AP)

When China moved into the American solar market, it was murder for American solar manufacturers. They were undercut right and left by Chinese companies with major backing from the Chinese government.

Many shut down. But it was great for American solar panel installers. From China, they got a low-cost product that sold like hot cakes. You may have some of those panels on your roof right now, pumping out green energy.

Last week, the U.S. government stepped in with big tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports.

This hour, On Point: the question — what do we need more? To go green? Or buy American?

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Keith Bradsher, Hong Kong bureau chief for the The New York Times.

Clyde Prestowitz, founder and president of the Economic Strategy Institute. He blogs at Foreign Policy.

Ned Harvey, chief operating officer and vice president of finance at the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld industries America.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “The move by the Commerce Department is certain to infuriate Chinese officials already upset after recent bilateral frictions over China’s human rights policies and its increasingly confrontational approach toward American allies like the Philippines and Japan.”

Wall Street Journal “China unleashed a storm of protest Friday on multiple fronts against the U.S. decision to impose a 31% antidumping tariff on Chinese solar-panel makers and said the action could backfire on U.S. industries.”

South China Morning Post “Solar power equipment and parts will remain in major global oversupply and product prices will continue to be under downward pressure for at least another year, according to the chief of the world’s largest maker of solar panels.”

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