Mukesh Dulani, president of SolarWorld Americas Inc., has been honored as “Energy CEO of the Year” for Oregon by the Portland Business Journal in recognition of his role in turning around the U.S. operations of SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar manufacturer for 40 years.
SolarWorld Americas “bet big in 2014 that American consumers would choose high-quality domestic systems” over dumped and improperly subsidized imports from foreign competitors, the Portland Business Journal reported today. “The bet appears to be paying off.”
The article notes: “SolarWorld is rebuilding its payroll after shrinking to 600. It ended 2014 with more than 700 employees and aims to add 200 more this year as part of a $10 million capacity expansion announced in the fall. The project will add 150 megawatts of capacity to the Hillsboro factory’s solar panel production line and 100 megawatts to its solar cell line.”
The article also cites Dulani’s role in SolarWorld’s success in a second set of its trade cases, which resulted in duties intended to prevent state-controlled solar producers from circumventing duties from an earlier set of cases.
Dulani said he appreciates the recognition of SolarWorld’s effort to restore fair competition in the U.S. solar market, which has cleared the way for recent announcements of new factories and plant expansions. But he said the honor more properly should go to SolarWorld’s executive team and the more than 700 American workers who persevered for years of industry crisis resulting from China’s trade aggression.
“The United States has the most productive workforce on the planet, and SolarWorld’s employees represent the very best traits of that productivity: unfettered innovation, aggressive entrepreneurship and just plain hard work,” Dulani said. “We have said all along that American workers should not be forced to compete with the Chinese government. Yet, thanks to the sheer resolve of our employees, we have prevailed, and we all now feel heartened to witness renewed job growth in the U.S. manufacturing business that pioneered this industry.”
On Jan. 21, the U.S. International Trade Commission determined that export campaigns of the Chinese and Taiwanese solar industries were unfairly injuring the U.S. industry. The commission’s determination effectively ratified the U.S. Department of Commerce’s recommendation that combined duties of about 75 percent immediately be placed on most U.S. solar panel imports from China and most cell imports from Taiwan. Previous cases placed duties of about 29 percent on solar cells made in China, regardless of where they are assembled into solar panels.