Solar panels ‘Made in the USA’…or not?


Texas Attorney General alleges PV module manufacturer 1SolTech relabeled Chinese panels as U.S. made

Here’s a quick one before the weekend from the Curator’s ironic breaking news files. One of the few U.S. solar panel manufacturers left standing—a number that shrank further last week with the news of Helios Solar Works going into receivership–is getting grief from the Texas attorney general. According to reports in the Dallas Morning News and Legal Newsline, 1SolTech was served with a temporary restraining order for deceptive practices because of allegations that some of its crystalline-silicon panels might not have been “Made in the USA” after all.

The Texas AG’s office believes that the company bought $2 million of low-cost Chinese panels in the first half of 2013, received the first shipment in the spring, and relabeled them as their own, to retain eligibility for certain federal stimulus projects with “Buy American” provisos. 1SolTech VP Ali Razavi told the paper that he “could not address that specific claim but said the company was manufacturing panels at its facility in Farmers Branch and blamed the state action on a former executive who left the company earlier this year. ‘If you would like, you’re all welcome to come and see our panels being made,” he said.’”

It should be noted that “Made in the USA” messaging features prominently on the 1SolTech website. It should also be noted that the company, according to unnamed industry sources, is one of the four unnamed core members of the SolarWorld-led Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing, which has spearheaded the successful campaign to impose antisubsidy and antidumping duties against Chinese solar manufacturers for what it sees as illegal and unfair business practices by those companies in the U.S. market.

“We jokingly say, as hard as the time was, that we survived in 2012 especially because we didn’t get any government grants,” 1SolTech CEO Sandy Fardi told the Dallas Business Journal in a July 2013 article. “We have to be really self-sustainable and learn to adjust to the market.”