SolarWorld and its consortium might have a valid trade claim with the Department of Commerce and International Trade Association, alleging the dumping of Chinese photovoltaic panels into the U.S. market and unfair subsidies by the Chinese state. The U.S. government agencies will soon make their ruling.
In the meantime, demonstrating the marketing aplomb that brought us Larry Hagman as a SolarWorld spokesman, the firm dusted off its copies of Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu to create the classic holiday message seen below.
SolarWorld eventually realized this was a less-than-diplomatic course of action and issued the following statement:
“SolarWorld AG apologizes for any offense that may have been caused by a holiday card that was distributed by SolarWorld AG to a limited number of recipients in Europe. SolarWorld AG honors and respects the full diversity of the world’s population, including the people of China. SolarWorld Industries America Inc. did not approve, use or distribute the card in any way.” (Milan Nitzschke, spokesman, SolarWorld AG)
This apology might not placate Ocean Yuan, the founder of Grape Solar, an Oregon-based system installer and distributor. His letter to Oregon's senators follows. Both senators have been supporters of the SolarWorld case.
The Department of Commerce and International Trade Association will make their determinations based on the facts and merits of the CASE case. But if those agencies can take other factors into consideration, then SolarWorld has not done itself any favors with this Christmas card.