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Solar Power Trade War In Oregon

SALEM, Ore. – The production of solar power, and the technology that makes it possible, is fast becoming a mainstay in Oregon.

Wednesday the state’s solar industry got a hand from the U.S. Commerce Department when it announced duties for solar panels imported from China.

The argument for tariffs was led by Solarworld, which has a plant in Oregon, but is based in Germany. Solarworld and other U.S. solar panel manufacturers said China companies were exporting the technology for less than what it cost to produce it, which is a violation of fair trade laws.

The tariffs range from just over 18% to 250%, depending on the company. Senator Jeff Merkley said there is still more work to be done, stating, “I fear that the action does not go far enough in addressing the loophole allowing Chinese companies to duck the tariff by moving a small part of the operation overseas. We need to close that loophole…”

Not everyone agrees with Solarworld and The Coalition For American Solar Manufacturing. California-based Sun-Edison is part of the coalition for affordable solar energy, which argues the tariffs will drive up prices for homeowners who want to install solar panels.