Yesterday, the U.S. Commerce Department proposed tariffs of at least 31% on solar panels imported from China. The preliminary ruling found that Chinese manufacturers have been illegally "dumping" solar panels on the U.S. market, meaning that they have been selling panels at below production costs. The tariffs will be retroactive for 90 days but will not become final unless and until the International Trade Commission finds that the under-priced panels are injuring the U.S. solar industry. A final decision from the Commerce Department is expected in the fall.
Chinese representatives obviously disagree with the ruling and warn that it will hurt the larger American economy by provoking retaliation by China with respect to American imports and by slowing the rapid growth of the U.S.'s solar industry at large. The domestic solar industry is sharply divided over the issue with manufacturers arguing that the country should try to maintain its manufacturing jobs and capabilities while developers and installers argue that the lower prices are helping the industry and benefitting consumers.