SolarWorld Industries America Inc., which is located in Hillsboro, Oregon, petitioned the International Trade Administration of the United States Department of Commerce to investigate companies importing solar panels from Chinese companies. SolarWorld called on the agency to investigate those companies selling solar panels to U.S. solar energy providers at less than their fair market value, an illegal economic practice known as “dumping .”
In June, the International Trade Administration preliminarily passed a tariff on these panels.
Chapel Hill-based Strata Solar has been powering parts of North Carolina with solar farms — pieces of land filled with solar panels to provide electricity for nearby communities and businesses.
Most recently, Strata Solar completed a farm on White Cross Road in Chapel Hill.
Strata Solar’s three local farms have been using solar panels imported from various companies in China since 2008.
“What’s at stake are a few hundred jobs in Oregon, whereas this industry is struggling to become competitive, and higher equipment prices make it less competitive,” said Greg Gangi, associate director for education at the UNC Institute for the Environment.
Gangi said he worries about how the tariff will affect the expansion of solar power.
“There are a lot more jobs in developing solar than in one company making panels.”