U.S. solar companies warn that planned tariffs will disrupt new projects

Solar panels will be on display at the Desert Stalin project on August 16, 2021 in Nippon, California, USA. REUTERS / Bridget Bennett

September 22 (Reuters) – The U.S. solar industry group warned Wednesday that tariffs on imported panels from three Asian countries could jeopardize the country’s 30% solar power over the next two years.

The Department of Commerce is ready by the end of September to determine whether to conduct commercial testing of solar cells and modules in Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. These are 80% of all panels entering the country, according to the Association of Solar Energy Industries (SEIA).

In a letter to trade secretary Gina Rimondo, SEIA said the obligations made by an unknown group of local producers last month would be detrimental to the growth of the renewable energy sector.

The letter, signed by nearly 200 solar companies, states: “We cannot adequately highlight the impact of these tariffs on our companies and the entire U.S. solar industry.”

Tariffs threaten 18 GW solar projects by 2023, enough to power 3.4 million homes. According to the research firm McKenzie, US industry is expected to supply 63 GW in 2022 and 2023.

Last month, a group of self-proclaimed US solar producers at the China Circuit called on the Department of Commerce to investigate unfair imports from the three countries. They allege that Chinese manufacturers are shifting their production to those countries in order to curb US anti-poisoning and anti-poisoning activities on cells and panels made in China.

Companies that demand inspections and tariffs do not identify themselves for fear of retaliation in the market.

The complaint is the latest in a series of efforts by the small US solar industry to find commercial drugs to compete with the cheap Asian panels that dominate the market. SEIA has been opposed to tariffs on solar imports for years because those products have boosted the sector’s growth.

Report by Nicola Bride; Edited by Tom Hog

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