The American Commerce Department is scheduled to decide in a month whether Chinese solar panels should be subject to an import tariff, after receiving complaints from domestic manufacturers.
Among the latest to speak out was American consulting firm Brattle Group. Yesterday, it said that putting restrictions on Chinese imports would cost Americans a total of more than 60,000 jobs.
As many as 50,000 American solar industry jobs would be lost over the next three years, should a 100 percent tariff be imposed on Chinese solar panel imports, according to the results of a Brattle Group study. It also says that if China imposes retaliatory duties on solar panel exports, the U.S. could see 11,000 more job losses.
The research was supported by the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, formed mainly by installers favouring inexpensive Chinese panels.
Jigar Shah, president of Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, said, "I think what the report says is that most of the jobs in the United States are in the downstream, if the tariff is imposed on Chinese imported solar panels, what will happen is the enter module will go up. Then less solar will be installed, then all of the other downstream jobs will also be lost."
The solar industry in the United States has thrived in recent years. However, 7 solar panel manufacturers called on the Commerce Department in October 2011 to impose duties on imports of Chinese solar panels, alleging that China is flooding the U.S. market with under priced solar panels and illegally subsidizing its solar industry.