The blog of South Mountain Company, a Martha's Vineyard-based design-build firm that does a fair amount of energy work, has an interesting anecdote about how one China-based solar company is wooing potential customers: The manager of the South Mountain Company's energy department went to the Solar Energy Industries Association conference in September in Florida and spent some time talking to representatives of a Chinese company called ReneSola. After the conference, ReneSola "contacted him and offered an all expenses paid trip to Shanghai for Rob and two colleagues," an offer that the Americans wound up accepting.
The South Mountain Company blog goes on, "Although it's easy to jump on the bandwagon and say that we are not interested in doing business with Chinese companies, there are few solar product choices these days that don't have some connection to Chinese manufacturing."
The blog post has some interesting additional facts about solar, which Bill Clinton spoke about in his keynote address to the conference: "Over 100,000 Americans are employed in the solar electric industry, in 5,600 small business across all 50 states...The number of U.S. solar installations grew 116% from Q2 2011 to Q2 2012."
Meanwhile, the Heritage Foundation web site reports, "A pair of foreign-owned solar companies that benefited from a combined $84 million in Energy Department tax credits have announced they will lay off employees."