Milwaukee-based high-efficiency monocrystalline PV module manufacturer, Helios Solar Works is the first founding member of the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM), outside SolarWorld to declare itself a supporter of actions that will lead to duties being applied to solar cells and modules from China. Seven firms with manufacturing operations in the US were said to have formed CASM and petitioned US agencies to investigate module dumping allegations, though until now only SolarWorld, which has led the campaign, had declared involvement.
“We have supported these trade cases from the beginning, and we are pleased to publicly declare that support,” said Steve Ostrenga, chief executive officer of Helios Solar Works, headquarterd in Milwaukee.“Our country can’t afford to give up manufacturing jobs in growth industries to nations that engage in illegal and harmful trade practices.”
According to a statement from CASM, Helios Solar Works was forced to downsize its manufacturing operations as a result of dumped and subsidized Chinese imports of solar cells and modules.
Helios management told PV-Tech last year – during Intersolar North America that it was operating with a capacity of 40MW, with plans to increase production to 80MW and then on to 120MW over the next 12 months. In the latest CASM statement, Helios was said to have a manufacturing capacity of 50MW.
“We believe the United States holds as much promise for manufacturing production and jobs as ever, especially in an industry with such potential to promote U.S. energy security, sustainability and economic growth,” said Brent Brucker, general manager of Helios in the CASM statement. “First we have to enforce world trade laws so that companies can compete on business essentials like production costs and product performance. Then we can go back to filling up our plants, hiring and truly competing.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce is expected to make a preliminary determination on possible countervailing import duties on March 19, which is expected to be publically announced the following day.
“We are tired of seeing manufacturing go overseas,” Ostrenga had told PV-Tech last year. “We want to make a product that will change the world, and do it in the US.”