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What: Shares of Suntech Power (NYS: STP) have fallen by as much as 11% today before slightly recovering on news that fellow Chinese solar-panel maker JinkoSolar (NYS: JKS) is facing environmental regulator scrutiny and protests over one of its factories in the city of Haining, China.
So what: JinkoSolar is taking the worst beating today, down more than 25% as of this writing, while others in the sector like Suntech Power, Yingli Green Energy (NYS: YGE) , and ReneSola (NYS: SOL) continue to catch the fallout. Rioters have stormed the facility in question and have alleged that a large number of fish have died in a nearby river due to pollution from the plant.
Now what: JinkoSolar subsidiary Zhejiang Jinko Co., which operates the plant, has suspended operations of the facility while local environmental regulators investigate the incident and the impact of any damage is assessed and corrected. Preliminary investigations concluded that the hazardous waste pollution might have been caused by improper storage of waste containing fluoride. The company expects to resume operations within a few days after taking all necessary steps to ensure compliance. While the news doesn't directly involve Suntech Power, the Chinese solar industry as a whole may face heightened scrutiny while the government tries to balance its focus on economic growth and industrialization with social responsibility.
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