Tariff dispute affects polysilicon producers
REC Silicon, a producer of polysilicon, which is used to create solar panels, is one of a number of wholesale solar panels industry members affected by a dispute over solar wholesale as China and the U.S. battle over tariffs.
The dispute escalated when the U.S. began applying tariffs of up to 250 percent on solar wholesale imports from China, to which China responded by applying large duties on polysilicon materials from the U.S.
REC solar has been in the news as a result: of the solar wholesale companies affected by the current dispute, REC solar has been slugged with the highest tariff rates, having been subjected to duties of 57 percent.
But last Monday a collection of U.S. solar companies, under the umbrella the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), put forth a proposal that might finally put an end to the tiff, potentially saving hundreds of jobs in the solar wholesale sector, and driving down wholesale solar panel costs.
Wholesale solar panels can breathe easy
SEIA’s proposal involves the U.S. agreeing to reduce duties on Chinese solar panels, while China would be tasked with halting tariffs on raw materials used in solar panels.
As part of the proposal, SEIA has also lobbied for a fund to help solar wholesale companies increase production while reducing their debts.
The proposal should benefit both China and the U.S., and represents a positive step in the relationship between the two and their growing wholesale solar panels industries.
Despite the fact that there are currently about 40 polysilicon manufacturing companies in China, China’s wholesale solar panel makers have been importing more than half of the polysilicon used in solar panel manufacturing from overseas.
It’s hoped that the proposal will both lower costs for Chinese manufacturers exporting solar panels to the U.S., and improve the fiscal viability of U.S. solar wholesale manufacturers attempting to compete in a highly competitive field.
Good news for solar wholesale globally
The relaxing of the tariffs is not just good for business, but good for consumers as well. It’s hoped that the settlement, which runs in contrast to other proposals to drive down demand for Chinese solar panels by increasing prices in the U.S., will keep solar wholesale costs highly competitive, improving the viability of wholesale solar panels in the U.S., and globally.
About the author:Eclipse Solar provides solar panel installation services and supplies REC solar panels and solar hot water systems in Queensland, including Nambour, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and Brisbane.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.