Chinese solar panel imports drop amid new US tariffs

U.S. taxes on imports of Chinese solar products are having an impact.

Federal statistics cited by a trade group this week show that U.S. imports of crystalline silicon solar cells and panels from China fell to their lowest level in at least two years in November.

Total Chinese imports valued at $50.5 million in November, down from $75 million in October, were less than a fifth of the $278 million total from October 2011, according to the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing, which cited stats from the U.S. Census Bureau’s “U.S. Imports of Merchandise” database.

Through November, Chinese cell and panel imports totaled about $1.7 billion, down from $2.4 billion for the same period of 2011, a decrease of about 30 percent, according to the Census data, the trade group says.

Chinese manufacturers face new hefty tariffs from the U.S. government on the imports. U.S. officials have asserted that Chinese solar-panel makers received unfair government subsidies and dumped their products in the U.S. at prices below the cost of production.

The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing was founded by companies that manufacture solar cells and panels in the United States.

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Veteran newsman currently covering energy for The Houston Chronicle. Spent 12 years at The Associated Press covering energy, airlines, general business news, legal affairs, politics and state and federal government issues. Won or shared numerous awards and award nominations for coverage of the Gulf oil spill, Delta Air Lines, the Atlanta courthouse shootings and the murders of two Dartmouth College professors. Prior to AP, worked at two daily newspapers in the Boston area.