Today's Commerce choice on antidumping photovoltaic panel tariffs might make or damage the U.S. solar industry

Sep 28, 2021 11:24 AM ET
  • " We're either mosting likely to be laying off numerous staff members or employing hundreds of staff members."
Today's Commerce choice on antidumping photovoltaic panel tariffs might make or damage the U.S. solar industry
Image: American Energy

Those are the only two methods, said Troy Ochoa, VP of solar construction for Wanzek Construction, during an interview today concerning a coming decision from the Dept. of Commerce on antidumping as well as countervailing (AD/CV) duties on solar panels imported from Southeast Asia. The division is considering 50 to 250% tariffs on imported solar panels from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, reliable as quickly as this Thursday, Sept. 30. With 80% of U.S. crystalline silicon solar module imports in the first half of 2021 originating from those 3 nations, many large-scale solar installers and also designers have actually stated that today's Commerce decision is an extreme fork in the road for the U.S. solar sector and its thousands of jobs.

In August, a group of confidential UNITED STATE solar manufacturers-- calling themselves the American Solar Manufacturers Against Chinese Circumvention (A-SMACC)-- submitted an application with the Dept. of Commerce asking for an investigation into Chinese silicon solar panel production business working in Malaysia, Thailand and also Vietnam as a means to stay clear of AD/CV responsibilities.

Solar campaigning for group SEIA held an interview today to go over the potentially disastrous impacts to the UNITED STATE solar industry if the Dept. of Commerce enables added tariffs on panel imports from the 3 nations.

AD/CV tasks have actually been in area against Chinese solar producers because 2012. Any kind of silicon solar imports from China come with an added tax from the Dept. of Commerce. Some Chinese firms, in a feasible effort to prevent paying the tax (according to the request), have relocated parts of their production capability to other Southeast Eastern countries.

A-SMACC is asking the Dept. of Commerce for a much deeper check out details Chinese companies operating in the three mentioned nations:

  • Malaysia: JinkoSolar, LONGi (and also associates), JA Solar
  • Thailand: Canadian Solar, Trina Solar, Talesun Solar, Astroenergy
  • Vietnam: Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, Sunergy, Boviet Solar, GCL, LONGi (and also associates), JinkoSolar

The petitioners want extra tariffs ranging from 50 to 250% on imports from the above business, reliable right away. According to SEIA, a new investigation right into the AD/CV duties would instantly interrupt the U.S. supply of solar modules, as the 3 nations made up 59% of the country's overall supply of crystalline silicon solar module imports.

Without any domestic silicon solar battery producers, and also domestic module manufacturing capability at less than 8 GW, the United States depends on solar module imports to satisfy demand. The country is anticipated to install 30 GW of solar in 2022 as well as 32 GW in 2023. Without supply from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, SEIA is anticipating installs to fall to less than 26 GW in 2022 as well as 18 GW in 2023-- or a loss of 18 GW over the next two years.

One factor behind A-SMACC's request is that further tariffs would boost domestic manufacturing, but with the moment as well as monetary investments required to begin residential cell production and also grow module assembly capacity, setup numbers will certainly suffer. As well as any kind of drop in anticipated solar installments would certainly put the nation additionally behind in meeting the Biden Administration's objective of 80% clean energy by 2030.

" Expanding the UNITED STATE solar supply chain is of important relevance," stated Abigail Ross Receptacle, head of state as well as CEO of SEIA. "Long-term plan that drives solar need and also incentivizes a healthy and balanced manufacturing sector can drive a strong UNITED STATE production renaissance. Nonetheless, needless as well as harmful tariffs are not the service."

Imported photovoltaic panels are already being affected, with SEIA coverage that business are being required to utilize existing module inventory to make up for import shortfalls, which has actually raised the prices of projects by 4 to 20%. Some EPCs are currently observing module deficiencies.

George Hershman, head of state of Swinerton Renewable resource, took part in today's press conference. The country's largest large-scale solar EPC uses about 3,000 staff members nationwide and Hershman stated every one of those jobs are presently in jeopardy.

" Module distributions to the UNITED STATE have actually frozen. This isn't something in the future. Just the submitting of this petition has basically frozen the marketplace," he stated. "We can not get module manufacturers today to sign order that we need to deliver projects in the near-term due to the concern of whether there will be a 50 to 250% tariff when those modules struck the port. No one can take that expense risk, so it's essentially stopping projects going forward."

Hershman stated that Swinerton gets on contract for 4.5 GW of solar installments in 2022 and also these tariffs have placed "nearly 100% of that work" in danger. "To say that this is a little issue or a nuanced concern is plainly an understatement. This has significant risk to our organization and those thousands of staff members. This has to do with whether or not we employ 3,000 or 4,000 staff members to release the projects we have under contract or we start laying off staff members in 30 days," he stated.

Ochoa specified that a present Wanzek project in Texas has already been delayed due to module firms avoiding product shipments because of the impact of tariffs that could drop today.

" [At the Texas project], 2 weeks back, it was revealed that modules are being 5 months delayed," he said. "That's hundreds of jobs. Those jobs have actually now been delayed for 5 months, and also the possibility for longer. When you eliminate projects, you eliminate jobs."

Last week, 200 American solar business sent a letter to Commerce Sec. Gina Raimondo outlining the impact these responsibilities could have on the resources of 231,000 UNITED STATE solar employees and on the country's efforts to fight environment modification. The signatories consist of manufacturers, designers, installers, investors as well as service providers from throughout the solar supply chain. SEIA is asking the Dept. of Commerce to reject the request.

The industry is expecting a choice from Commerce as early as Sept. 30.

Solar Installers, Manufacturers