Solar Stocks Get Drenched During Wall Street’s Cloudy Day

Turbulence continues for a volatile solar industry.

Leading American thin-film solar manufacturer First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) is coming off a recent hike in value that was the result of a series of new projects being announced. The company landed contracts in India and Dubai for substantial solar power plants, and has come up over 55 percent in the last three months. But the solar industry moves forward like a roller coaster and October 19 brought the next gut-floating drop.

First Solar is down as much as 7 percent in afternoon trading. American industry partner SunPower Corp (NASDAQ:SPWR) has dropped over 6 percent.

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Components of the Chinese solar industry are dropping as well: Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE:STP) as much as 10 percent, with Trina Solar Limited (NYSE:TSL), Yingli Green Energy (NYSE:YGE), and LDK Solar (NYSE:LDK) just over 5 percent each.

In a move that some Chinese companies have labeled as “protectionism,” the United States recently reiterated steep tariffs against solar panel imports from the country.

“The United States is inciting trade friction in new energy and sending a negative signal to the whole world about protectionism and obstructing the development of new energy development,” said Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang.

The tariffs currently apply to panels wholly produced in the country, so savvy component makers can still dodge some of the anti-dumping and countervailing duties. Many companies — notably German-based SolarWorld and bankrupt Solyndra — blame Chinese manufacturers for flooding the market with a glut of subsidies panels. The surge of demand brought prices so low that hundreds of companies went out of business and pulled the entire industry down.

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