19 September 2011

China’s Solar Factory Pollution Causes Riot

Posted by John Freeland

One reason American solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers have had trouble staying profitable is price competition from China. China can build PVs cheaper because of reduced labor costs and lax environmental regulations.

Local residents in Haining have apparently had enough, forcing a factory to shut down. AFP reports:

China has ordered the closure of a solar panel factory in the east of the country after hundreds of local residents staged violent protests over pollution, authorities said Monday.

The closure of the plant, which manufactures solar panels for the US-listed company Jinko Solar, follows the shut-down of a chemical factory in northeastern China after some 12,000 residents took to the streets over pollution fears…

The protesters broke into the factory in Zhejiang province’s Haining city, ransacking offices and overturning vehicles before being forced back by police in a three-day protest that began on Thursday, according to state media reports.

They were demanding an explanation for the death of large numbers of fish in a nearby river, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Wouldn’t an international trade embargo on products manufactured this way make sense?