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N E W S
February, 2006


What's Raining On Solar's Parade

Almost all solar panels are made with silicon -- and makers can't buy enough of it.
For many nations, solar offers a hedge against spikes in prices of fossil fuel. In Japan, even without incentives, higher fuel prices and other costs have made solar electricity almost cost-competitive. And huge potential markets, such as China, are just beginning to be tapped.

That's why analysts predict the growth will surge when the new polysilicon production lines get going. And the boom should continue for at least 10 years. By then, technological improvements, economies of scale, and competition from new entrants such as China may make sun power cost-effective without government help. "Prices are going down every year, and the cost of standard electricity is going up," explains Ron Kenedi, Sharp's vice-president for solar energy solutions. "There will be a meeting point." When that happens, the industry may finally see growth without growing pains.

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"Substantial Benefits" from China Trade?

A new economic study says the U.S. gains plenty from its commerce with China, while admitting that disruptions are also significant

America's rocketing trade deficit with China has spelled misery for many U.S. factory workers and owners. And it raises alarms for economists and politicians worried about America's deteriorating balance of payments. But take an eagle-eye view, and the trade relationship with China has been a huge blessing for the U.S. economy. That's the conclusion of a study by Oxford Economic Forecasting (OEF), an independent economic advisory firm, that was released Feb. 2 by China Business Forum, a pro-trade business lobby..

 
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