Even as angry and restive voices grow louder and louder for confronting the Chinese assault on the global solar market, First Solar (FSLR) is hosting a delegation of senior Chinese government leaders from the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China to talk shop on solar. FSLR’s press release states that the delegation is visiting to “learn first-hand how the company’s low-cost solar technology can help contribute to China’s goal of achieving a low-carbon economic future as well as meeting China’s increasing demand for sustainable renewable energy.” The sunny confab also “also discussed the significant potential for the U.S. and China to address global climate change through the creation of solar markets that take advantage of the significant solar resources in both countries.” The Chinese delegation is also making its way to Washington, D.C.
This meeting is likely part of the PR that China wants to apply to quell the protectionist firestorm brewing, especially in Europe, over China’s alleged dumping of solar panels on world markets (for some example of the PR, see “Green technology may spark new U.S.-China trade boom“). FSLR could also use a PR lift given the persistent controversy over its accounting for its Lieberose Solar Farm where the company contributed to the project’s financing.
I am skeptical that FSLR will generate significant additional business in China from these kinds of meetings as long as China is making a full-court press to beef up its domestic solar industry with generous subsidies and ultra-cheap loans…but it sure will not hurt to be first in line for any scraps of business China dishes out to the U.S. as part of its effort to avoid a solar trade war.
Full disclosure: net short FSLR.