Posts Tagged ‘Tariff’

Trump Administration Establishes 30% Solar Panel Import Tariff

Posted February 1st, 2018 by SRECTrade.

On January 22nd, President Donald Trump’s administration announced that it approved a four-year tariff on imported crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cells and modules. Effective February 7, 2018, the tariff imposes a 30% duty set to decline by 5% each following year. The first 2.5 gigawatts of CSPV products imported in each year will be exempt from the tariff.

The decision followed the U.S. International Trade Commission’s (ITC) unanimous determination that solar cell and module imports are inflicting “serious injury” on domestic manufacturers. Although the Commissioners recommended a variety of tariff rate structures, they agreed upon an increase in duties with an allowance for a limited quantity of imported cells in their proposal to the Trump administration.

The initial Year 1 tariff is expected to increase install costs by 10-15 cents per watt, which Greentech Media estimates could result in approximately a 10 percent reduction in U.S. installed solar capacity. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), of the 260,000 Americans employed in the solar industry, only 2,000 are manufacturing solar cells and modules. SEIA reports that the tariff could cause the loss of approximately 23,000 American jobs in 2018 alone.

U.S. International Trade Commission Finds ‘Injury’ in Solar Tariff Case

Posted September 22nd, 2017 by SRECTrade.

On Friday, September 22nd, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) unanimously voted that imported solar equipment has inflicted “serious injury” on domestic manufacturers. The decision is in favor of Suniva and SolarWorld’s petition under Section 201 of the 1974 Trade Act, wherein the petitioners argued that solar equipment imports have impaired domestic manufacturers’ ability to compete.

Following this finding, the ITC will hold a hearing on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 in Washington D.C. to evaluate potential trade remedies. The ITC will make its remedy recommendation to President Trump by November 13, 2017, ultimately leaving the decision on whether to impose a remedy in Trump’s hands. Considering the President’s demands for more tariffs on imported goods, it seems that a tariff on solar equipment imports is probable. President Trump will have 60 days after the ITC’s recommendation to issue his decision.

In their petition, SolarWorld and Suniva request a remedy of tariff levels of 40 cents per watt on imported cells and a floor price of 78 cents per watt on modules, either of which would negatively impact jobs and solar development across the U.S., with devastating impacts in states without renewable energy mandates. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the implementation of such a tariff could eliminate 88,000 jobs in solar installation, sales and construction.

Notably, the ITC vote carved out that U.S. manufacturers have not sustained injury from Singaporean and Canadian solar cells and modules, the finding of which could create the potential for these countries to become free trade zones. Singapore’s integrated solar equipment manufacturer, REC, could benefit greatly from this lack of injury finding.

SEIA President and CEO, Abigail Ross Hopper, assured the industry that the organization remains committed to its opposition-advocacy efforts, saying that “As the remedy phase moves forward, I am determined to reach a conclusion that will protect the solar industry, our workers and the American public from what amounts to a shakedown by these two companies.”

SRECTrade will continue to monitor and provide updates on the remedy hearings, recommendation, and Trump’s final decision.

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.