U.S. protectionism retards growth of photovoltaic industry

As a sunrise industry, the photovoltaic industry is far from overcapacity, but U.S. protectionist measures are suppressing the market demand, said a Chinese official late Saturday.

The right approach is to free up markets and support its development, said Liang Zhipeng, deputy director of the Department of New Energy and Renewable Energy of the National Energy Administration (NEA).

In the latest round of probes on imports from China, the U.S. government announced a preliminary decision in March to impose countervailing duties at rates ranging from 2.9 to 4.73 percent on crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells.

In another preliminary decision last week, the U.S. Commerce Department announced anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar cells at rates from 31.14 to 249.96 percent.

China has formally challenged U.S. countervailing duties on 22 categories of Chinese products, accusing the U.S. of abusing World Trade Organization rules and infringing on the legitimate rights of Chinese firms.

Liang said photovoltaic materials are widely used in new energy sources and developed countries have the right conditions to replace fossil fuels with photovoltaic materials. The reason why they restrain demand is to protect their domestic industries.

The NEA official estimated that wind power and photovoltaic materials would be widely applied in industrial, commercial, and residential fields in the next three years when prices are acceptable.