Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy Promotes Solar Industry Competition, Opposes Anti-Trade Petition File by Germany-based Company

Twenty-five Companies Representing 9% of the U.S. Solar Workforce Come Together to Defend American Solar Industry Growth

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE), initially representing 25 organizations and more than 9,200 jobs in the U.S. solar industry, announced its founding today to defend solar industry competition and growth in the U.S. and globally.

CASE was formed in response to an anti-trade action filed by Germany-based SolarWorld with the U.S. government that threatens the entire U.S. solar industry. CASE will hold a teleconference today at 5 p.m. ET to discuss the negative impacts of protectionism on the U.S. solar industry.

According to CASE: "Global competition is making affordable solar energy a reality in America and around the world. SolarWorld's action to block or dramatically curtail solar cell imports from China places that goal at risk. Protectionism harms the future of solar energy in America and negatively impacts consumers, ratepayers, and over 100,000 American solar jobs. The coalition is committed to growing a domestic solar industry, promoting innovation, and making solar an affordable option for all Americans."

"There's been overwhelming opposition throughout the U.S. solar industry to SolarWorld's short-sighted trade petition. The vast majority of the existing 100,000 jobs in the solar industry are in sales, marketing, design, installation, and maintenance. These jobs depend on affordably priced solar panels and companies would have to lay-off workers if panel prices rose as a result of this petition. We urge policymakers to find a resolution to this petition in a manner that preserves the U.S. solar industry and solar investments," said Jigar Shah, co-founder and Chairman of CASE and head of the Carbon War Room and founder of Sun Edison.

A recent poll by PV Magazine showed that 76% of respondents opposed the filing of the petition, versus only 20% who supported it. Companies representing more than 9% of the U.S. solar workforce have already publicly announced their opposition to the trade petition and protectionism, with more anticipated.

"There are more than 5,000 companies in the U.S. solar industry that will be negatively impacted by SolarWorld's actions. We expect this Coalition will continue to grow and provide a voice to the majority of American solar companies who are facing a massive loss of jobs and decimation of the U.S. solar project pipeline if this petition is successful," said Sheldon Kimber, Chief Operating Officer of Recurrent Energy and a co-founder of CASE.

In the last year, the U.S. solar industry grew by 69%, as the price of solar electricity dropped by 30% since 2010, according to the U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association. The solar industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S., with more than 100,000 jobs across more than 5,000 companies, mostly small-business. At the same time, the U.S. was a net exporter of solar products in 2010 by US$2 billion, including to China by more than US$200 million.

"Despite the remarkable progress, the U.S. still represents only 5%-10% of the global solar marketplace. Placing protectionist barriers against more efficient and affordable solar cells -- whatever their origin -- discourages innovation and investment. Now is the time to move forward, not backward, on our clean energy goals. We must not walk away from one of the greatest opportunities of the 21st century," added Shah.

"It's time for the U.S. solar industry to come together and fight for what matters," said Jeff Wolfe, President of groSolar, a solar installer with decades of experience on projects across the country. "After decades of intense global competition, affordable solar electricity has arrived. It is creating thousands of jobs across America and changing the way the world produces and consumes energy."

CASE represents the following companies: Alpine Solar Energy, LLC, AltPOWER, Inc., American Solar Systems, Inc., Canadian Solar, Carbon War Room, Carolina Solar Energy LLC, Gaia Worldwide, LLC, groSolar, Lighthouse Solar, Lumos, MEMC/SunEdison, PetersenDean, Recurrent Energy, Rochlin Corporation, Russell Pacific, Solar City, SolarFirst, Inc., Sungevity, Suntech America, SunRun, Syncarpha Solar, LLC., Trina Solar U.S. Inc., Verengo, Westinghouse Solar and Yingli Americas.

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