More US groups take sides in battle against PV imports

Image source: SolarWorld Americas Inc.

Sep 8 (Renewables Now) - The Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA) in the US and the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) are supporting the call for relief against solar imports by US solar manufacturers Suniva Inc and SolarWorld Americas Inc.

SolarWorld said this week the two organisations have sent letters to the International Trade Commission (ITC), urging it to find that global photovoltaics (PV) production overcapacity has led to a jump in solar imports to the US, injuring the domestic solar industry. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), meanwhile warned again that the American solar industry will lose many more manufacturing jobs than it will gain from the trade case.

The Suniva-SolarWorld Section 201 petition seeks relief against imports from all geographic sources, and proposes a minimum price on crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules and a tariff on cell imports. Four ITC commissioners will vote on September 22 whether PV imports have caused, or threatened to cause, serious injury to the US solar manufacturing industry. If at least half of them vote affirmatively, the ITC will make a remedy recommendation and present it to President Trump.

SMA, which represents 30 producers collectively accounting for about 75% of all steel production in North America, has experience with such petitions. “For the steel industry, the temporary Section 201 relief provided critical stability at a time of crisis. The US solar industry desperately needs similar breathing room,” its letter to the ITC says.

CPA, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organisation representing the interests of 4.1 million US households, says it is “deeply troubled by the recent surge of imports that have all but devastated the US solar cell and module manufacturing industry.”

SEIA, which is opposing the call for new trade barriers, on Thursday released the First Edition of Profiles in American Solar Manufacturing to highlight some of the 600 American solar manufacturing plants that have achieved success in the solar boom, and that themselves would be injured if Suniva and SolarWorld are successful in their call for relief.

“The petitioners made bad business decisions during the biggest boom in American solar energy history. They are now being largely controlled by their creditors who are looking for a bailout from their investments in poorly-run companies. Plain and simple, these companies are not worthy of an injury finding,” said SEIA CEO Abigail Ross Hopper.

The CEO of mounting manufacturer QuickMount PV, Claudia Wentworth, was cited by SEIA as saying that the effect of the Section 201 petition would extend beyond the solar workforce, hurting companies in the industrial sector that supply US manufacturers with parts and materials.

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Browse all articles from Tsvetomira Tsanova

Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for seven years now. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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