First Solar and China Try to Play Nice

Even asangry and restive voices grow louder and louder for confronting theChinese assault on the global solar market, First Solar (FSLR) ishosting 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 “learnfirst-hand how the company’s low-cost solar technology can helpcontribute to China’s goal of achieving a low-carbon economic future aswell as meeting China’s increasing demand for sustainable renewableenergy.” The sunny confab also “also discussed thesignificant potential for the U.S. and China to address global climatechange through the creation of solar markets that take advantage of thesignificant solar resources in both countries.” The Chinese delegationis also making its way to Washington, D.C.

fslr2 First Solar and China Try to Play Nice

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 withgenerous subsidies and ultra-cheap loans…but it sure will not hurt tobe first in line for any scraps of business China dishes out to theU.S. as part of its effort to avoid a solar trade war.

Full disclosure: net short FSLR.