Global Solar Council Launches

Eight international companies including DuPont, Dow Corning, First Solar and Suntech, have formed the Global Solar Council to expand the industry in a sustainable, cost-effective way.

Other founding members of the CEO-level industry coalition are: Applied Materials, Lanco Solar and Phoenix Solar. Members represent all sides of the solar PV value chain – from the supply of materials to product manufacturing and financing, policy, research and innovation, cross-border cooperation, and grid development and management.

The group says it will engage with policymakers worldwide to demonstrate the progress the industry has made and to emphasize the importance of a supportive policy and trade environment to drive ongoing development of competitively-priced solar energy, solar jobs and economic growth.

“The Global Solar Council demonstrates a strong commitment by key players in the sector to work together to continue to make solar energy a global success,” says Roland-Jan Meijer, the newly-appointed Executive Director.

The group plans to work in concert with solar industry trade associations and to support their efforts globally.

They note, “Solar energy continues on its path to grid parity and will soon be able to compete without government support in many markets.”

It seems the group will opposed efforts of SolarWorld’s coalition to place duties on Chinese solar imports in the US and in Europe where similar efforts are underway.

They say:

As a global industry with customers, producers and supply chains around the world, solar PV depends on international trade for its continued success. Accordingly, the Global Solar Council supports a strong, effective, and enforceable international trading system that promotes free and open trade, with all parties acting in line with their commitments and responsibilities. Such a system will allow the solar industry to compete on the basis of quality, technology, and service, delivering consumers clean and affordable energy within a predictable rules-based system that governments have negotiated in bilateral, regional and multilateral settings.

In a growing number of countries and regions around the world, however, the growth of solar PV is facing threats from calls for restrictive trade measures that hinder access to markets rather than provide it. For solar to reach its potential as quickly and cost-effectively as possible – thereby providing the maximum economic and environmental benefit – global markets must remain open to fairly traded products. Closing markets will only serve to raise prices, slow the adoption of solar, and fragment the industry, leaving it unable to compete on a global level.

The GSC believes governments should continue to reduce trade barriers through favorable policy regimes, energy market access, reducing import duties on manufacturing inputs, providing pre-competitive research and development support and other measures that will allow firms to lower their costs and compete at lower prices.

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