US shoots itself in the foot with sanctions on Chinese PV products: industry insider

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Engineers carry out maintenance work at a floating solar farm in Panji County of Huainan City, east China’s Anhui Province, July 20, 2021. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese players in the photovoltaic (PV) industry remain resilient and competitive in the United States and globally despite relentless United States sanctions in an ill-intentioned decision to strangle Chinese products, which contributed significant to the green development of the country. at a fairly low cost, and to replace them with expensive and less competitive US-made products, industry insiders said.

Speaking about the 2022 China International Trade in Services Fair (CIFTIS) in Beijing, several domestic photovoltaic industry players told the Global Times that they are not worried about US sanctions as their products have gained popularity in terms of cost, quality and production capacity. and reliable self-developed technology, not only in the United States but around the world.

Staff from Trina Solar, one of the nation’s leading solar power solution providers, told the Global Times that the overall manufacturing level of solar PV products in China is world-leading, battery efficiency of the company having reached the world record of 25 years. time.

There is currently no way for the United States to prevent the use of Chinese products.

Yingli Group staff also told reporters that “the general trend of globalization is irreversible.” Currently, the United States has no way to fully rely on its own industrial supply chain to meet market demand, industry insiders said.

When the United States decided in March to launch a survey on Southeast Asia, the US domestic market, which relies heavily on Southeast Asian products, immediately felt the impact. However, three months later, the United States decided to grant a 24-month tariff exemption for solar panels from four Southeast Asian countries, as reported by the media.

The U.S. PV industry has been reeling, 318 PV projects have already been canceled or delayed, according to media reports, hundreds of companies are considering layoffs, which industry insiders say reflects the insufficiency of its own production capacities and a sign that the United States is heavily dependent on Chinese products.

The United States is now using fiscal stimulus in the newly introduced Cut Inflation Act to boost domestic production of clean energy like solar modules.

However, the bill also stipulates that production from manufacturers receiving financial subsidies must be assembled in North America and that battery materials and “critical minerals” must come from the United States or countries with a free agreement. -exchange with the United States.

The attitude of the United States towards Chinese PV products is a mixture of “love and hate”, a Ying Li Group employee told the Global Times, noting that if the United States wants to dissociate itself from China, the United States industry group cannot.

Data shows that at present, China’s solar PV module production accounts for more than three quarters of the world’s total, and its cumulative installed capacity ranks first in the world.

Moreover, demand in overseas markets continues to be strong, and the export value of Chinese products has reached new heights.

In contrast, shipments of solar PV modules to the United States are mostly imported. According to the country’s Energy Information Administration, which revealed that module shipments in 2021 rose 32 percent year-on-year to a record generating capacity of 28.8 GW, media reported.
About 80% of module shipments last year were imports, mostly from Asia, with 49% coming from China.

Additionally, more than half of PV module shipments to the United States come from China or from overseas factories by Chinese companies, industry insiders said.

A staff member of Yingli Group told the Global Times that China’s PV industry leads the world in technology research and development, manufacturing and industrial applications.

China’s strong production and support capabilities also make the price of Chinese products very competitive, even including tariffs imposed by the United States, the employee said. The insider said that the United States’ own politics is just one way the United States is “shooting itself in the foot.”

Chinese companies are also diversifying their markets to reduce dependence on a single market, including the United States, an important export market for some Chinese companies.

Although the US is a traditional market for solar PV products, political risks in the US market still exist and Chinese companies should be vigilant at all times, an industry insider said.

The Yingli Group staff member explained that with the advancement of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a wider global market has been opened up, and the company no longer “relies” on the American market.

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