An interesting article about the current market for silicon and solar PV. Right now, most analysts agree that there is a glut of silicon in the market leading to oversupply and thus abnormally cheap costs for solar PV cells. However, the cause of this is more controversial. Some blame the overbuild of solar factories and silicon supply chains during the pre-bust era of high demand. However, other (namely U.S. solar manufacturers) blame malicious solar subsidy practices of the Chinese. Either way, it is unclear what the best policy for the U.S. is going forward. If the U.S. imposes protectionist tariffs on Chinese imports, this will allow U.S. manufacturing to build out more in its relatively "infant" state. However, many in the U.S. (including solar installers) argue that the higher prices from tariffs will create an additional barrier to an industry that is already struggling to compete economically. They believe there is the potential for this barrier to cause permanent damage to the industry with no real tangible long term benefits.
Article posted from the Rocky Mountain Institute