Global economy not an excuse
To the Editor,
There’s nothing wrong with building a solar farm on Brown’s Island (“International companies aren’t the enemy.”)
Our community may have a deep history in steelmaking, but it isn’t the only industry out there, and the author is right. Investment and development bring jobs, and we need them right now.
He’s wrong, however, to suggest that taking issue with this solar farm’s equipment supplier is misinformed economic nationalism. There’s a reason a Chinese solar company is manufacturing the equipment. The authoritarian Chinese government heavily subsidized its domestic solar industry for years in part to drive international manufacturers — including American ones — out of business and corner a huge part of the green energy market.
And it worked. Even after the Trump administration raised tariffs on solar imports in 2017, there’s virtually no solar manufacturing in the United States anymore. That’s because it was killed off years before by unfair industrial policy written in China, which now is the world’s solar supplier.
Yingli Solar benefitted from that state support. You might not like the criticism, but you can’t wave off decades of documented trade cheating by saying “we live in a globalized economy.”