Fredric Bastiat Comes to Mind As Solar Makers Seek Bailouts

(From Real Clear Markets)

Similarly, solar has been growing into a mass market. But even as dropping prices benefit millions of consumers, they threaten the profits of some manufacturers. Just as Woody Allen once observed there are no atheists during final exams, there seem to be no free traders at a failing company. Sunviva, a manufacturer of solar cells and modules that filed for restructuring two months ago after losing $50 million over two years, has petitioned the International Trade Commission for government intervention. But relief for the Atlanta-based manufacturer would come at a steep cost to the rest of the industry and to consumers, including utilities. Under a little-used section of the trade law that allows imposition of global duties rather than actions against a specific country, the company is seeking a price floor of 78 cents a watt for imported solar panels and import duties of 40 cents a watt on solar cells, which currently go for 25 to 33 cents a watt. The impact on utility-scale developers would be enormous, driving up solar module prices in the U.S. market almost 50 percent, according to solar analysts with GTM Research. The impact on consumers would be costly. Duties would cause Americans to pay more for solar power than any country in the world.

If the ITC approves the petition, it would be up to President Trump to decide on proposed duties. The ITC and the President should think twice before they go head with such a move.

They should think more than twice.

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