In a really interesting twist, some of China’s biggest solar manufacturers are moving production to Portugal, Turkey, South Africa and other countries.
Part of the reason is because they can avoid tariffs imposed by the US and now the EU, because they flooded markets with solar panels below cost, making it impossible for other solar-makers to compete.
By producing the panels outside of China they can avoid paying import tariffs to the US and EU.
But the much more important and interesting reason behind the move is rising costs to operate in China.
US-based solar manufacturer Silevo Solar, which has been manufacturing in China, is moving to back to the US because, “Water and electricity in China are much more expensive than in the US, and the labor cost is very close. In terms of production cost, it’s very comparable to North America,” says CEO Zheng Xu.
Meanwhile, China’s central government is trying to help the industry by pushing for consolidation and urging lenders to ease financing.
In related news, as Shenzhen works to gear up its cap-and-trade program, the city of Shijiazhuang has come up with a way to cut emissions immediately. This capital of steel-production will limit the number of cars per household to two and the number of new vehicles that can be bought to 100,000 this year. The quota will be cut to 90,000 in 2015, with a lottery used to determine who can buy the cars, reports Bloomberg New Energy Finance.