Posts Tagged ‘Solar Cost’

US-China Trade Dispute Update

Posted March 23rd, 2012 by SRECTrade.

Back in January we put up a blog post on the US-China solar module trade dispute.  The schedule of events has changed somewhat since the January posting. SolarWorld, a German-owned, module manufacturing company with operations in Oregon asked the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) to investigate the fairness of subsidies provided to Chinese manufacturers by the Chinese government. The complaint set in motion two types of investigations. The first is a countervailing duty investigation (CVD and the second is an anti-dumping (AD) investigation. On Tuesday, 3/20/12, the DOC levied tariffs on crystalline silicon modules produced in China of between 2.9 and 4.37 percent. On May 17th, the DOC is scheduled to issue a finding on the AD investigation. It’s possible that the AD ruling by the DOC will be for additional tariffs.

The CVD tariffs specifically discuss Suntech and Trina solar. With Trina modules receiving the highest tariff and Suntech modules a lower tariff than the rest of the solar products impacted by the ruling. Click here for an official DOC summary of its CVD ruling.

  • Trina- 4.73%
  • Suntech- 2.9%
  • All others- 3.59%
  • Click here for additional analysis of the ruling written by James Montgomery of Renewable Energy World, an online renewable energy forum.

    Why are Pennsylvania SREC prices so low?

    Posted February 16th, 2012 by SRECTrade.

    SRECTrade has printed auction prices for Pennsylvania ranging from a high of $310 in June 2010 and a low of $20 for SRECs created in the same energy year. The drop in Pennsylvania SREC prices is due to a severe over-supply of SRECs above the amount of SRECs that buyers (electricity producers) need to acquire each year, but how did the market become over-supplied and is anything being done to address the over-supply?


    The Pennsylvania SREC market was created as a state-level, long-term incentive for homeowners and businesses to go solar, but around the same time that the SREC market was created, other, more generous solar rebate programs like the Pennsylvania Sunshine Program were created that caused a short-term boom in solar installations. In addition to this, the Pennsylvania SREC market is one of two markets (OH is the other) that accept SRECs from out-of-state sited solar systems, including from states that don’t have their own SREC markets. This means that Pennsylvanians are effectively subsidizing solar in other states and ensuring that Pennsylvania SREC prices remain low.

    The Proposed Fix

    The Pennsylvania SREC market was created by the state legislature and amendments to the market must go through the legislature first. In the spring of 2011, Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester) proposed House Bill (HB)-1580 to address some of the key factors behind low Pennsylvania prices. The crux of HB 1580 is a proposal to move up the SREC requirement by three years. This would mean that if the bill passed, Pennsylvania SREC requirements would increase beginning in 2013. A detailed schedule of the proposed increase can be found in the bill.

    We’ve followed the progress of HB 1580 over the last year and periodically posted updates to our blog.  Most recently the bill went before the House Consumer Affairs Committee on January 11, 2012 where it met resistance from Committee Chair Rep. Bob Godshall (R-Montgomery) and various entrenched groups representing the Pennsylvania electricity industry. Since the January hearing Rep. Chris Ross has worked hard to develop compromise amedments to HB-1580 that might help the bill survive a tough Committee vote. If the bill makes it out of Committee it has 110 co-sponsors in the House and substantial Senate support in a companion bill.

    According to PennFuture, a Pennsylvania environmental and renewable energy advocacy group, Ross’ proposed the following compromises:

    • Capping the Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) for solar at $325, with a 2% annual decline
    • Offsetting early-year increases in the solar requirement with decreases in later years and extending the SREC program through 2026
    • Allowing solar hot water (SHW) systems to qualify for SREC sales
    • Making slight adjustments to the language of the in-state requirement, aimed at preventing net-metered systems from inadvertently being disqualified
    • Ensuring that utilities cannot procure any AEPS resource above the ACP price

    What Can You Do?

    Pennsylvania solar advocates are hoping that they can convince the House Consumer Affairs Committee to vote on HB 1580 when the legislature reconvenes in mid-March. If you are a Pennsylvania resident, please feel free to contact House Majority Leader Turzai at 717-772-9943 to express your support for seeing the bill go up for vote.

    Update on US-China Trade Dispute

    Posted January 17th, 2012 by SRECTrade.

    We’ve received a lot of questions over the last couple of months about the on-going trade dispute with China over the price of Chinese-made crystalline solar modules. Crystalline modules are by far the most commonly installed module type in the United States. Currently the trade dispute doesn’t include thin-film or other solar equipment. Given the central importance of equipment affordability to the solar industry we figure it’s high time to put a quick blog post together summarizing the trade dispute so far.

    On October 19th, 2011, SolarWorld and unnamed companies under the newly formed Coalition for American Solar Manufacturers (CASM) file a lawsuit with the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the International Trade Commission (ITC) asking for 100% import duties on crystalline modules imported from China. Two types of investigations are on-going by the DOC/ITC. The first type is a countervailing duties (CVD) investigation. If the DOC/ITC find merit to the SolarWorld lawsuit then the US can impose counter-tariffs to offset the unfairly priced Chinese modules. The second is an anti-dumping (AD) investigation. In a “dumping” investigation the DOC/ITC investigate whether low-priced Chinese modules have caused “injury” to the US economy. If the investigations find “injury” then strong fines could be imposed on China for any crystalline solar modules that they export in addition to countervailing duties. If both CVD and AD fines are imposed module prices exported from China would increase dramatically, forcing Chinese manufacturers to find alternative channels to distribute their products. Many China-based modules manufacturers have preemptively begun to invest in production facilities in Taiwan and other southeast Asian countries not subject to the threat of US import tariffs.

    Below timeline acquired from GTM’s Solar Power Year in Review 2011 article.

    October 19th, 2011- SolarWorld and unnamed companies under the newly formed Coalition of American Solar Manufacturers (CASM) file an AD and CVD claim with the DOC and the ITC, setting in motion a timeline for the DOC and ITC to form separate investigations.

    November 8th, 2011DOC initiated investigation

    December 5th, 2011 ITC made preliminary determination of injury, confirming that they will continue investigation

    March 27th, 2012- DOC to make determination in its AD and CVD investigation

    May 11th, 2012- ITC to make initial determination on CVD investigation

    May 18th, 2012- ITC issues orders on its CVD investigation

    June 11th, 2012- DOC final determination on its AD investigation

    July 25th, 2012- ITC final determination on its AD investigation

    August 1st, 2012- DOC final determination on AD investigation

    The DOC/ITC schedule is staggered so that the DOC can follow the ITC’s lead on its determinations on the anti-dumping allegations, but the DOC will make a determination before the ITC on the CVD investigation. In candid discussions with some industry experts we’ve been led to believe that some CVD determination will be made by the Department of Commerce in March.  If either CVD or AD fines are imposed, crystalline module prices will increase for both China-derived modules as well as modules made in the US and other countries.