I try to stay away from things that are too political, because no one really wins from a political debate. Though since we’re on the topic of anti-dumping solar panels, and it pertains quite a bit to the solar community, I think there is a merit in its discussion. So, let’s discuss. Let’s look at both sides of the coin and try to understand the topic at hand.
On one side, I get it. Who wouldn’t want to protect local interests? It makes sense. Local businesses support local communities. It creates jobs and contributes to a healthy society. Why would anyone be against protecting jobs, especially in this time and age. We see time and time again local jobs being off loaded in favour of cheaper labour. Entire divisions shut down. Manufacturing centres closing up shop. So, it’s in the interests for our local communities to support local jobs. Like the saying goes, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t… But, is it?
Let’s delve a little deeper. Market share and unfair competition is the crux of the argument at hand. Local panel manufacturers employ under 1000 employees (considerably less, but 1000 is a nicer number to throw around for example purposes). If anti-dumping weren’t enforced, I’m pretty sure most of these companies would go belly up. So our theoretical 1000 workers are out of a job. As with any job loss, it doesn’t just affect 1000 workers. There is a certain splash zone as it disrupts the livelihood of families. It makes it considerably harder for everyone. If you live in Canada, I’m sure you’re sick and tired of hearing people getting laid off or fired. It’s depressing news. It feels bad.
So with anti-dumping, we keep these jobs in Canada. Great! Feels good.
So now, let’s look at the other side of the coin. With anti-dumping, what are the adverse effects? Price. It continues to be an unfeasible technology to the masses. Through maintaining the status quo, we continue to drive people away from solar. Why wouldn’t it? The cost of panels will continue to be inflated, and the return on investment continues to be out of reach. Unless you have a dire need and are otherwise off-grid, it’s not too terribly cost efficient. I mean, it can, and should. Solar technology is still slated to be one of the most important methods of generating electricity in the future. Harnessing the power of the sun to make our lives better, oh what a time to be alive.
It’s not just me who thinks this. If you’re reading this then I’m sure there’s an inkling of want for a better sustainable alternative. It just has to make sense. When it does, we would see a considerable growth in market and industry. It would mean a lot of change. New technologies always help foster greater innovations. Even if it doesn’t, greater accessibility means greater demands. Greater demands will usually result in a growth in the market. Its how this stuff works. You would see more installers, you would see more retailers, and you would see a lot more being done with solar. Will there be challenges as well? Absolutely! Challenges and problems would surface and need to be solved. Companies will grow, die, and start anew. It’s exactly how open market functions, survival of the fittest. Those that make sub-par products will fall out and the market will dictate its fate. It’s unexplored and there’s a lot of potential.
Like the Global Apollo Program, there has to be more done. The price to invest in solar has to come down. Technologies have to shift and adapt to the dramatic changes happening in the sustainable future.
Though the saying goes, a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. We really have to sit down and think about what’s really happening. It requires more than an instinctual reflex. Play it safe or take a gamble on the future?
My stance is that, regardless of what happens, we have to look towards the future. Whatever decisions we make has to mean something. It has to make sense in the long term.