Suniva's trade complaint may be hurt by letter to China - report

Solar cell. Author: Michael Dorausch michaeldorausch.com License: Creative Commons

May 23 (Renewables Now) - Suniva’s petition for global safeguard relief from imports of photovoltaic (PV) products to the US may be seriously undermined by a discussion about the motives of a key creditor.

Bloomberg reports that SQN Capital Management, which is the largest creditor of Suniva Inc with USD 51 million (USD 45.4m), is bankrolling the US solar firm’s complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC). The news agency is citing a letter to a Chinese trade group, in which SQN is attempting to negotiate the sale of Suniva PV manufacturing equipment.  Jeremiah Silkowski, the founder and CEO of SQN Capital Corporation and its group of companies, has made it clear that if the equipment is sold, SQN will no longer be interested in supporting Suniva’s battle, according to the report.

Suniva is calling for rules for solar imports to the US from all geographic sources, including cell import tariffs starting at USD 0.40 per Watt. The petition only applies to crystalline silicon (c-Si) products. Such filings under Section 201-202 of the Trade Act of 1974 need to be determined by President Trump.

However, last week, Shunfeng International Clean Energy Ltd (HKG:1165) said the petition for relief against solar imports to the US, filed by its 63.13% subsidiary Suniva Inc, is not in the best interests of the global solar industry.

Bloomberg cites trade lawyers as saying that the SQN letter may further weaken Suniva’s case.

The solar PV industry is again undergoing a period of severe competition and significant pricing pressure. Amid such tough conditions Suniva Inc filed for Chapter 11 in April.

Ten K Solar Inc said recently that it will discontinue its current operations and try to adapt to the situation on the market.

Yesterday, the US subsidiary of SolarWorld AG (ETR:SWV) warned roughly 800 employees at Hillsboro, Oregon of possible layoffs or plant closure following its parent’s insolvency.

Near the end of April, soon after Suniva's petition, the Solar Energy Industries Association urged the federal government to find a resolution that bolsters the competitiveness of American solar cell and panel makers without erecting new trade barriers.

(USD 1 = EUR 0.89)

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Browse all articles from Tsvetomira Tsanova

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

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