Looming solar panel tariffs have deeply affected solar demand in 2017. The U.S International Trade Commission ruled foreign made solar panels have negatively affected the US solar manufactures. Their 500-page report looks in to the operations of 16 domestic solar panel manufacturers from 2012 to 2016. You can find the report here.
The four members of the ITC will now begin to formulate a remedy to address the injury suffered by the U.S. manufacturers, and they will take recommendations from solar companies. Any remedies taken by the U.S. will not apply to imports from Canada. Suniva is a Chinese owned, U.S. based manufacturer that started the case. Section 201 of the Trade Act, is the rarely used but powerful legislation that gives the president the ultimate authority to take or discard the recommendations of the commission. President George W. Bush last used the authority in 2002 to implement a tariff on imported steel, but later withdrawn.
The solar industry has been seeing sharp declines in cost since 2012. Coincidentally, installed solar capacity has been seeing huge gains year over year during this same time period.
Many believe this investigation will be the final nail in the coffin for foreign solar panel imports to the US, or at least for the next few years. This will add more ammunition for a government administration that has been very skeptical of climate change policy and forgoing competition.
This news has already sent massive shock waves within the solar industry. As a result, there has been a shortage supply low cost solar panels in the US. Some of the most popular solar brands, like Canadian Solar & LG, have been in severe short supply for several months.
Many argue this will have a crippling effect on the US solar industry at large. Many states pushing progressive renewable energy agendas will certainly have to navigate these pending policy decision as several stats have set ambitious clean energy targets.
President Donald Trump has until January to decide on these tariffs on foreign manufactures. What do you think about this case? Do you believe foreign competition is good or bad for the US solar industry? Let us know I’m the comment’s below.