Are There Clouds on the Horizon for China’s Solar Firms?
While Solyndra’s August 2011 bankruptcy made it an non-entity, the company still maintains that Chinese solar panel manufacturers ran the company out of business.
Bloomberg reported Friday that the bankrupt solar-panel maker is now accusing the Chinese companies of “running an illegal cartel.” Solyndra, the company which received a $535 million U.S. loan guarantee, filed a complaint in federal court in San Francisco on October 11 against Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE:STP) and several other manufacturers.
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“The defendants schemed with each other, raw material suppliers and certain lenders to flood the U.S. market with solar panels at below-cost prices,” said the document.
The claims are not without validity. Following complaints from other U.S. solar-energy manufacturers, which were forced to close plants and fire workers, the U.S. Commerce Department began an investigation. On October 12, the Wall Street Journal reported that the department decided to imposed tariffs on imports of Chinese solar panels because Chinese firms, including Suntech Power and Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL), have “dumped their products in the U.S. market.” Duties will range from 31 percent to 250 percent.
In a statement made Friday, Suntech America’s managing director E.L. McDaniel said, “Though we are continuing to review the complaint, it is obvious that this lawsuit is a misguided effort by Solyndra to find scapegoats for its failure to commercialize its technology at a competitive price point.”
Solyndra’s complaint asks for a compensation “for the loss of the $1.5 billion value of its business and more which the defendants destroyed,” the complaint said.
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