Solar companies say new tariff proposal will devastate industry

Solar companies say new tariff proposal will devastate industry

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The Solar Energy Industries Association said on Wednesday that imposing tariffs on panels and cells from Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand, which account for 80% of US panel imports, would have a “disastrous impact.” on the industry.

In a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, more than 190 U.S. solar companies urged the Commerce Department not to launch trade investigations.

Wednesday’s letter comes after several companies filed an anonymous petition with the Commerce Department in August alleging Chinese manufacturers of solar cells and modules are evading U.S. tariffs by shifting production out of the country. The department is expected to decide by the end of the month whether to open the investigation.

“These petitions call for massive rights, ranging from 50% to 250%, already having a negative impact on the US solar industry and, if implemented, could harm the industry and each of our countries. Destroy the sole proprietorship. Says the letter

SEIA estimates that if the proposed tariffs go into effect, it will cost the industry 18 gigawatts of solar deployment by 2023, the equivalent of all US solar installations before 2015. It also represents a large part of the expected construction in the US. over the next few years. years. Energy consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie estimates that the industry is expected to add 30 GW of solar power in 2022 and 33 GW in 2023.

“We recognize that significant uncertainty represents a real risk for US utility developers – projects can be pushed further with increasing disruption beyond Poly [polycrystalline] and freight / logistics, ”noted the Bank of America analyst.

The petitioners claim that bulk assembly of solar products imported from Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand actually takes place in China, which is why these products should be subject to tariffs. The SEIA objected, saying a lot of work is being done outside of China.

“We cannot stress enough how badly these tariffs will harm our businesses and the entire US solar industry,” the letter said.

This comes as the industry faces several headwinds, including supply chain disruptions and higher raw material costs.

In June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a restraint order on Hoshine Silicon Industry’s silica products due to forced labor issues in China’s Xinjiang region.

In the second quarter, solar energy costs increased quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year across all market segments for the first time since Wood Mackenzie began tracking price data in 2014. In addition, some key provisions, including the extension of investment tax credits, have been left out. . There is hope within the infrastructure bill industry that the $ 3.5 trillion spending program will include enough money for clean energy projects.

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