October 4th, 2011

Are Chinese Solar PV Panels a Threat to UK Solar Industry?

The cost of solar PV panels in the UK seems to be falling at an almost daily rate at the moment. So far, in 2011, solar PV panels have fallen in cost by an average of 33%, with a predicted further 15% drop still to come. While this is good news for those hoping to install solar PV panels, and for renewable energy capacity in general, the drop in the cost of solar PV panels could harm the UK solar PV panels industry, as it has in the US.

The problem is that an increasing amount of solar power equipment, including solar PV panels, is coming in from China, at prices which home markets just can’t compete with. The low cost of labour and cheap state-owned finance available in China allows the Chinese to sell solar PV panels to UK companies at dramatically lower prices. In the USA this has already lead to the bankruptcy and folding of a number of US solar PV panels makers including: Solyndra Solar, Spectrawatt and Evergreen, putting many Americans out of jobs.

There are only few companies which make solar PV panels in the UK and traditionally British solar PV panels have been sourced from our high-tech Euro-cousin Germany. If anyone is liable to lose out thanks to new, cheap Chinese solar PV panels, it could well be the Germans. Of the British companies that do assemble solar PV panels, many actually already import parts for assembly from China itself.

While there could be any number of losers in this situation; UK solar PV panels makers, German & US solar PV panels manufacturers etc., the clear winner in this situation is solar-lovers worldwide. However ‘healthy’ the competition between solar PV panels builders is, the outcome is almost entirely good when it comes to homeowners getting the best deal on solar PV panels. Another big winner is, of course, the environment. The cheaper and more lucrative using solar PV panels is, the more renewable, clean energy the world will use.

The one potential downside during periods of intense competition, with solar PV panels makers regularly going bust in the heat of the economic battle, is that the guarantee that came with your solar PV panels may become invalid before its 25 years are up should your solar PV panels producer go belly up. For such an expensive, and hopefully long-term, investment this can be worrying and it can be hard to know which solar PV panels to choose.

To find out more about how the current global battle to produce the best and cheapest solar PV panels is affecting the UK solar industry, and to discover which solar PV panels are right for you and your property, give Watt & Sun a call. Our friendly team are experienced industry experts and keep a close eye on all things solar. If you are considering installing solar PV panels at your premises and have any enquiries about solar PV panels or about any other aspects of installing solar power at your home, we’ll be happy to help! Give us a bell on 02920 020 158 or drop us an email at hello@wattandsun.co.uk today.