Amidst A Growing Solar Trade War, First Solar and China Try to Play Nice

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.

2 thoughts on “Amidst A Growing Solar Trade War, First Solar and China Try to Play Nice

  1. Looks like the Chinese and FSLR wasted NO TIME getting a deal out there. This deal should generate plenty of excitement for a while: “Pursuant to the MOU, signed in the presence of Chairman Wu Bangguo of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, the solar project in Ordos will be built over a multi-year period. Phase 1 will be a 30 megawatt demonstration project that will begin construction by June 1, 2010 and be completed as soon thereafter as practicable. Phases 2, 3 and 4 will be 100 megawatts, 870 megawatts, and 1,000 megawatts. Phases 2 and 3 will be completed in 2014 and Phase 4 will be completed by 2019.” For more, see:

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