Increasingly, the solar industry is finding financial incentives to relocate to China. One recent study estimates that four Chinese manufacturers account for more than a third of of the modules installed under a California solar incentive, according to Grist.
Those manufacturers include Yingli Green Energy, a relative newcomer which in only two years has jumped from comprising 1.2 percent of the market to 17.5 percent.
California's solar industry doesn't compare well. The largest domestic supplier, based in Silicon Valley, accounts for just 6.3 percent of the solar incentives.
But that could change in the coming years, with massive solar installations planned for deserts. Local companies have taken an early lead on those projects. In some cases, Chinese firms have established partnerships with American companies to build desert solar arrays.
And solar power takes on additional importance abroad. In Afghanistan, a Marine company that installed solar panels on its tents found that their need for diesel dropped dramatically, saving them from dangerous refueling missions.