Today the U.S. Commerce Department immediately imposed countervailing duty tariffs on solar panels made in China ranging from 18.56 percent to 35.21 percent, including on PV panels made in t Taiwan with Chinese parts. The move could increase the cost of solar power in the U.S. since China is the largest manufacturing of solar panels.
The move was hailed by SolarWorld, which brought the complaint to the Commerce Department. “Today is a strong win for the U.S. solar industry,” said Mukesh Dulani, president of SolarWorld Industries America. “We look forward to the end of illegal Chinese government intervention in the U.S. solar market, and we applaud Commerce for its work that supports fair trade.”
Others, including the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) said that the duties could be bad for the solar industry. “The ruling is a major setback for the entire U.S. solar industry because it will immediately increase the price of solar power and cost American jobs in one of fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy,” CASE said in a statement.
“These damaging tariffs will increase costs for U.S. solar consumers and, in turn, slow the adoption of solar within the United States,” SEIA President Rhone Resch. He added, “Ironically, the tariffs may provide little to no direct benefit to the sole petitioner, SolarWorld, as we saw in the 2012 investigations. It’s time to end this needless litigation with a negotiated solution that addresses SolarWorld’s trade allegations while ensuring the continued growth of the U.S. solar market.”
“Today’s announcement is just the first determination in a legal process which is set to drag on throughout this fall, taking its toll on the industry with every step,” CASE said. “At a time when the U.S. solar industry is primed to continue its record-breaking growth and began 2014 recording the second largest quarter for solar installations in history, U.S. solar businesses now find themselves collateral damage to litigation which is increasing module costs and freezing future investment through pricing uncertainty.”
SolarWorld was working with SEIA and China to find a way around imposing tariffs but it appears those discussions were not successful. “Over the past few months, SEIA has facilitated settlement discussions between Chinese solar manufacturers and SolarWorld. The goal of these discussions is to develop an industry recommendation to help jump-start government-to-government negotiations,” Resch said. “Although we’ve succeeded in establishing direct communications between the parties—and are working with all segments of the industry to find a consensus solution—we’re quickly running out of time.”
“We’re strongly urging all parties to set aside their grievances; redouble efforts to find a solution that benefits all segments of the industry; and end this potentially costly and divisive conflict,” Reach stated.Tweet