If US solar manufacturers were looking to recently upheld trade tariffs to provide relief from the onslaught of low-priced Chinese panels that has decimated the US industry, they may be disappointed, industry participants said.

Duties of 24 to 36 percent on most solar panels imported from China, as confirmed by the US International Trade Commission in early November, are not expected to drive up prices or make US manufacturers more competitive because of a loophole in the regulation that allows low-cost Chinese producers to avoid the tariffs if they make the solar assemblies outside China. Keep reading →

The US president of the world’s largest PV manufacturer said this week that he was more concerned about a change of administration in the White House that could revoke incentives for solar than he was about controversial trade tariffs on Chinese suppliers.

John Lefebvre, the president of Suntech America, said that he was especially concerned about potential Republican attempts to revoke the Investment Tax Credit, which returns 30% of the cost of a solar project, and state-level renewable goals. Keep reading →

Two Israeli exhibition staffers next to solar panels at a stand at the EnergyTech international exhibition on solar, wind and green technologies in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv.

The Middle East is being eyed for a solar revolution by the Chinese owner of more than 40% of Israel’s solar photovaltaic panels in a new twist on the energy sector’s international roots.

Currently the largest producer of solar panels in the world, China-based Suntech has long been eyeing the oil-rich Middle Eastern market as a critical region for energy transformation. As oil prices skyrocket, many Middle Eastern countries are opting to sell their oil and produce electricity from other sources – including solar – for domestic use.

But the Israeli market has been a unique business opportunity for Suntech because of the plethora of high-tech and IT companies in the country’s “Silicon Wadi” that are innovating unique solar solutions.

Suntech signed a 10 million NIS (approximately $2.7 million) contract in January with Israel’s Tel Aviv-based Enerpoint for the company’s SuperPoly solar system that improves panel operating efficiency in extremely hot and sunny climates like Israel and the Middle East. The companies say that contract, which was signed for the first quarter of 2012, could be extended for the remainder of the year.

And while Suntech has done most of its business in Israel through large local solar companies like Arava Power in the south and Solarit Doral in the north, Suntech Communications Supervisor for the Asia Pacific, Middle Eastand Africa (APMEA) regions Ryan Ulrich told Breaking Energy that Israel has proved a very comfortable place for the company to do business.

“In Israel things are much more open: access to relevant decision makers, access to the media is much easier than in other markets,” Ulrich said.

A Holy Land History

Ulrich said Israel has been a key market for Suntech since 2008 when the company joined with Solarit Doral to build a 50 kW rooftop solar installation in Katzrin, located in Israel’s Golan Heights mountain range. Since then, Suntech provided the panels to Arava Power for Israel’s first utility-scale solar project, a 4.95 MW solar array in Kibbutz Ketura. Keep reading →

Solar trade tariffs released today in a preliminary ruling from the US government were much lower than expected and would disappoint petitioners trying to block cheap Chinese photovoltaic imports, said industry advocates.

The Department of Commerce announced its preliminary determination in the countervailing duty (CVD) investigation of imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells from China, which was initiated last year at the request of SolarWorld Industries America, the largest PV manufacturer in the US. Keep reading →

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon last month referred to Abu Dhabi as “becoming justifiably renowned as a hub for progress” regarding clean energy.

Abu Dhabi? Hub of the Middle East and home to one of the most oil-rich regions of the world? Keep reading →

The fed’s piggy bank has been the subject of much debate this summer as Democrats and Republicans clashed over the deficit and budget planning.

No less controversial is federal financing of renewable energy projects, part of a strategy to both reduce national dependence on foreign oil and limit greenhouse gas emissions as part of addressing the threat of global climate change. But with federally-backed companies like solar manufacturer Solyndra recently filing for bankruptcy, some are saying that the government is making bad bets and investing in the wrong places. Keep reading →