After flooding the market with solar panels, Chinese solar PV manufacturers are struggling to survive. Now, some cities in China are adding new solar power systems in attempt to help save the industry.

As a country, China has made solar panel manufacturing a key part of its economic agenda. After huge increases in production, prices dropped 75 percent over the last three years. For the renewable energy world, it was a huge boon. Falling prices helped make solar panels easier and easier for homeowners to afford. But the U.S. government, worried about competition to American solar manufacturers, slapped a huge tariff on all Chinese solar panel imports, slowing sales here.

In Europe, demand for solar panels has slowed as some government rebates and other incentives have been reduced or ended. Chinese companies that relied on demand from European countries are now suddenly faced with piles of excess stock. Some European countries are also now considering following the United State’s example and raising prices on Chinese panels, arguing that they are being dumped on the market.

Chinese solar stocks have plummeted, and the companies are struggling. In response, the Chinese government asked local governments to create new plans for adding solar power to their grids. Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin and other states are involved. Right now, only 1 percent of China’s electricity comes from solar. The country is the largest producer and consumer of coal in the world, and their coal use alone is responsible for more than 15 percent of world carbon dioxide emissions. China can use every bit of solar power that can be installed.

Unfortunately, the U.S. needs much more solar power as well. The U.S. decision to raise prices on Chinese solar panels slowed solar growth just when it’s most critical for renewable energy to grow. Here’s hoping the Chinese solar companies survive.

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