Who is left standing in China?
In a sense, it's interesting to note that Foxconn is getting into the solar manufacturing game now, after gross margins have plummeted from the 30% range to less than 10%, and even into negative territory for some companies right now. This is the world which Foxconn knows, a low margin game that it does better than anyone else, not a high margin unsustainable game played by companies running from European market to European market chasing short-term solar subsidies. So will the Chinese, and possibly the global solar manufacturing space, look very different five years from now, with the pure-play a thing of the past and the Foxconns of the world adding the solar panel to the list of "innovative" products that they churn out for the world?This also circles back around to the earlier question on the future of U.S. solar manufacturing. With First Solar interim CEO Ahearn scaling back manufacturing expansion and talking a more sober game of developing solar projects in key emerging markets like China, India and Africa, should these U.S. solar innovators become the "Bechtels" of solar, setting the standard in global construction of alternative energy infrastructure and leaving the panel manufacturing to Foxconn? 8. Does the escalating solar trade war eat the hand that feeds solar?
If you think back over the past few years for this sector all of the market moving headlines -- before the crash of 2011 -- had been about the risk to European subsidies. Would Germany install a cap on solar installations? Would Italy curtail the level of subsidies paid for solar projects?
Eric Rosenbaum. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to Eric Rosenbaum. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
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