Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Threat of Euro Tariffs on Chinese PV

Man this tariff shit is a total bummer. I really hope the parties resolve their issues without a tariff and without these quota and price fixing ideas being implemented - these price fixing ideas are horrendously backwards. Ack cough spit. The devil you know is better than this quixotic bureaucratic plan  The quota idea feels like a rogue wing of the civil service trying to get a cut. It's so nakedly un-thought out? How did the idea make the airwaves?

What we know

We know solar is getting cheaper. What can we do with this know? I think we should keep making solar cheaper. Keep pressing progress. We're on track to make solar cheap enough to start making a real difference. Solar will foster an ecosystem of energy management and efficiency technologies. The whole way we build and operate the grid will slowly evolve to a 5% grid, then 10% then 20% then 40%. How far can we take it? It depends on how well efficiency, energy management and solar work together. I myself cannot perform the cost optimization math at the architectural level but I understand that you could if you had good software.

I want to see the future sooner rather than later. I don't want to wait a few extra years while all these trade organizations figure out how to unfuck themselves. Resource wars are a bitch. This whole case is a really weird version of a resource war but in this version one country is dumping a cheap resource on another rather than restricting it. Weird version.

The counter argument here is that China is only temporarily dumping cheap product. Supposedly they'll stop once the Americans and Europeans lose all their solar manufacturing ability. By stop I mean jack up their prices. This argument would hold water if photoelectrics were cheaper than wind, coal and natural gas. Solar is cheaper in some areas but not most. You have to think that European demand for solar shrank last year due the interrelated issues of falling tariffs and difficult macroeconomics. If demand for solar at X price is shrinking you can be assured that demand for solar at X + 20% price is going to shrink more. We need to continue pressing prices down across Europe to where the Germans have taken prices. Why shoot yourself in the face just because you can't make solar panels domestically? Give manufacturing to the Chinese for a few years. Make a supply deal. Trade your few manufacturers (a bishop at best) to keep your rooks (sales, design, installation, energy management, efficiency markets and polysilicon manufacturing). That's a whole lotta loss for a quirky fairness beef.

Like I said. Total bummer.

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