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Chinese solar power companies sued in the US

Updated: 2013-10-10 07:21
( China Daily)

A failed US solar power panel manufacturer filed lawsuits last week for claims totaling $950 million against three Chinese competitors that it alleged were engaged in unfair trade practices.

John Madden, head of a bankruptcy trustee for failed US solar panel manufacturer Energy Conversion Devices said three Chinese companies, including Trina Solar Ltd, Yingli Green Energy Holding Co Ltd and Suntech Power Holdings Co engaged in far-ranging schemes to flood the US market with low-cost solar panels in an illegal bid to take over the US market, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

"We are still reviewing the filing but, at first glance, these are baseless claims that seem similar to the Solyndra antitrust case. In both instances, the companies are bankrupt and appear to be blaming others for their own failed thin-film technology and flawed business models," said Robert Petrina, managing director of Yingli Green Energy Americas.

"We will continue to aggressively defend ourselves and expect that Yingli will prevail in both cases," he said.

It is not the first time that Chinese companies are alleged to have been behind the failure of US solar companies.

Last October, US-based solar firm Solyndra LLC accused exactly the same three Chinese solar panel manufacturers of driving it into bankruptcy through a scheme to monopolize the solar panel industry in an antitrust suit filed in a US district court.

"It is becoming a convention for US companies to blame Chinese companies once they face a crisis. It happens not only to certain companies, or in a certain industry. Based on the loose causal relationship between the failure of energy conversion devices and the three Chinese companies, I believe the former has only a slim chance of winning the case," said Ren Haoning, an energy industrial analyst with China Investment Consulting.

On the other hand, Chinese companies are lowering their export volumes to the US market after the US Commerce Department decided to impose heavy anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar power companies in addition to anti-subsidy duties imposed last May.

"Chinese companies can afford to drop the US companies now if an unfair ruling is given in this case," he added.

Xie Yu and Zheng Jinran