May 24 (Renewables Now) - The International Trade Commission (ITC) has accepted Suniva’s petition for global safeguard relief from imports of crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells to the US and is starting an investigation.
The commission said on Tuesday it will make an injury determination by September 22 and present a report to the President by November 13.
The investigation will cover photovoltaic (PV) cells that contain c-Si in addition to other PV materials, with a goal to determine whether imports to the US from various geographies cause serious injury to the domestic solar industry. The list contains, but is not limited to, passivated emitter rear contact (PERC) cells, heterojunction with intrinsic thin-layer (HIT) cells, and other so-called “hybrid” cells.
Suniva, which recently filed for Chapter 11, submitted in April the petition for global safeguards under Section 201-202 of the Trade Act of 1974. An amended petition has been filed on May 17 and accepted by the ITC. The solar cell and module maker has proposed several measures to protect the domestic industry from imports, including cell import tariffs starting at USD 0.40 (EUR 0.36) per Watt.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said that “setting high price floors and exorbitant tariffs is a blunt instrument that would cripple one of the brightest spots in America's economy.” It strongly opposes Suniva's requested remedies.
Shunfeng International Clean Energy Ltd (HKG:1165), which holds 63.13% in Suniva and is based in China, recently said the petition, filed by the Chief Restructuring Officer of its subsidiary, is not in the best interests of the global solar industry.