Foreign imports hurt US solar industry, ITC says

Author: University of Salford Press Office.

Sep 25 (Renewables Now) - US solar panel makers have suffered “serious injury” from foreign imports of photovoltaic (PV) equipment, the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled out on Friday.

In a 4-0 vote US trade commissioners agreed that the increased imports of crystalline silicon PV cells, partially or fully assembled into other products, are hurting the domestic solar industry. The next step for the federal trade agency is to hold a public hearing on possible trade remedies on October 3 and then present a report with its injury determination, remedy recommendations and additional findings to President Donald Trump by November 13, 2017. Trump will take the ultimate decision whether to impose tariffs or other remedies, as well as their form, amount and duration, within 60 days, or by January 12.

ITC’s determination was made following a Section 201 petition filed by Suniva Inc in April, which sought relief against solar imports from all geographic sources. The US solar products maker has proposed a minimum price on crystalline silicon (C-si) PV modules of USD 0.78 (EUR 0.65) per watt, and a tariff on cells of USD 0.40 per watt in the first year. SolarWorld Americas Inc, is a co-petitioner in the Section 201 safeguards case.

Diversified equipment leasing fund SQN Asset Finance Income Fund Ltd, a key creditor of Suniva, welcomed the ITC decision on Friday. "Should Suniva be granted a form of the remedies it has proposed, it is expected that profitable operations will recommence in early 2018," it said.

In a statement on Friday, SolarWorld’s president and CEO Juergen Stein said: "On behalf of the entire solar cell and panel manufacturing industry, we welcome this important step toward securing relief from a surge of imports that has idled and shuttered dozens of factories, leaving thousands of workers without jobs."

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.839)

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