More to the point: do solar PV panels make any sense? For most applications, absolutely not.
“Low Prices, Always Low Prices” that is the tag line of one of the world’s largest retailers. That may be why Wal-Mart is one of the world’s largest retailers. But when it comes to solar photovoltaic panels made in China the price is too low according to the US Government because the Chinese government is subsidizing them.
This is the same US government that also subsidizes solar panels to make the prices—-errr—lower!
In 2011 the US public bought more than $3.1 billion in solar photovoltaic panels from China. Now a US Department of Commerce ruling finds that China subsidized PV panel production allowing its producers to underprice US manufacturers. The practical result was that China captured about half of the US market share for PV panels—and customers got some REALLY good deals for putting solar panel on a lot of rooftops.
The same thing happened previously in Europe where Spain and Germany and other nations adopted feed-in-tariffs (subsidies) designed to favor domestic producers. Later when China learned how to game the rules and suction up those feed-in-tariff subsidies to help their PV panels lower than EU domestic producers—the EU had a FiT (pardon the pun). The EU economic crisis also brought tremendous pressure on EU governments to cut spending and deficits in waves of very unpopular austerity. What did they cut? They cut FiT subsidies arguing they had ballooned so large as customers snapped up cheap solar panel systems that the feed in tariffs were not sustainable.
US and EU producers screamed that China was not playing fair and a group of them filed this anti-dumping complaint in the US. So what should we make of this fine mess?