Q CELLS, LG, Mission Solar join petition to extend solar panel tariffs
After California-based solar panel assembly plant Auxin Solar and dormant Georgia solar cell company Suniva filed a petition earlier this week with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) seeking the exemption from waiver for crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and modules (CSPV). To expand, three other U.S. solar panel installers have added their names to the petition. Hanwha Q CELLS (Georgia facility), LG Electronics (Alabama) and Mission Solar (Texas) yesterday filed their own petitions with the ITC asking for a review of the tariffs first introduced in 2018 that will be introduced in 2022. expire.
“The current CSPV manufacturing industry is an important part of the clean energy industrial base in the United States. The government’s target of achieving 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035 is a historic undertaking in a relatively short period of time
and one that requires a stable and growing domestic CSPV industry. Without an extension of the safeguard action, progress towards achieving the government’s target would be significantly challenged,” the three companies said. “The requesting companies have not yet received the full benefit envisaged by the indemnity action and therefore need additional time to complete their adaptation and facilitate the production of household modules that are crucial to the government’s ambitious plan. to decarbonise the energy sector by 2035.”
Tariffs on imported solar cells and panels took effect in 2018 after US manufacturers Suniva and SolarWorld filed a Section 201 petition with the ITC, claiming that imported solar cells and panels entered the country so cheaply that they could destroy the US market. destroyed solar energy production. The indemnity rates were set on a four-year drop-down schedule, with full expiration expected in February 2022. Imported bifacial solar panels were excluded from the tariffs for a short time, but today are taxed the same as traditional solar panels. All types of imported crystalline silicon solar panels (with the exception of some minor exemptions) have been subject to an 18% tax since February 2021.
Q CELLS, LG and Mission, along with Auxin Solar and Suniva, are asking for a four-year extension of the rates. The new stepdown would look like this:
- Year 1 of renewal: 17% rate
- Year 2: 16%
- Year 3: 15%
- Year 4: 14%
The ITC is now being asked to determine whether the safeguard measure remains necessary to prevent or remedy serious injury and whether there is any indication that the industry is making a positive adjustment to import competition. The ITC will report its determination to President Joe Biden by December 8, 2021, at which point the president can choose to extend the safeguard for another four years.
“If the waiver expires on February 7, 2022, all members of the newly revived US industry would be exposed to another wave of harmful imports. Without an extension of the remedy, planned investments in equipment and personnel, new capacity expansions and product innovation will have to be postponed or may never materialize,” the three companies claim.
The petition stated that Mission Solar had completely retired its production lines earlier this year and replaced it with new production methods, something that could not have happened without the Section 201 tariff relief, the company said. Both Q CELLS and LG have blocked large portions of their corporate summaries as confidential material, stating that they are “seriously looking at” new technology and/or manufacturing in their US facilities, and only a rate extension would allow them to pursue these plans. to strive .
Both petitions were filed this week under Section 204 of the 1974 Commerce Act, which provides that the “affected industry” can petition for the extension of the original Section 201 action.
See a list of companies that assemble solar panels in the United States here.