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There goes the sun

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THE mere threat of protectionism has already slowed the advance of solar power in America. On September 22nd that threat became reality when America’s International Trade Commission (ITC) ignored the concerns of large swathes of the solar industry and ruled that two of the country’s solar-cell manufacturers had suffered serious injury as a result of imports, which primarily come from Asia. The unanimous 4:0 decision by the panel’s commissioners will lead the ITC to recommend safeguarding measures, such as tariffs and/or quotas, to President Donald Trump. If the president endorses them, he could set back America’s solar industry by several years—though he will not wipe it out, analysts say.
The case, which involves use of an arcane piece of trade law called Section 201, has pitted two financially frail American solar-cell manufacturers against a large and vibrant array of solar-panel installers, which use the imported cells in their panels. The installers and utilities that use solar power argue that …

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