On May 23, 2017, the United States Trade Commission decided to move forward with Suniva’s Section 201 filing, now called Investigation No. TA-201-75. Suniva, a manufacturer of Solar panels had filed for bankruptcy in April citing that imports from China and other Asian countries were flooding the U.S. market with panels priced below their cost. “Thus, petitioner (sic Suniva) seeks a recommendation to the President of four years of relief of an initial duty rate on cells of $0.40/watt, along with an initial floor price on modules of $0.78/watt. Petitioner also seeks other equitable remedies that will effectively assist the domestic industry to make a positive adjustment to import competition. Finally, petitioner seeks a recommendation from the Commission to the President that the United States negotiate with trading partners to address the global supply imbalance and overcapacity in CSPV cells and modules.”
Comparison with 2012
Anti-dumping tariffs were placed on cells and panels imported from China in 2012. Chinese manufacturers adjusted this by moving manufacturing to other Asian countries not subject to the tariff and along with improved productivity with the result that prices for solar panels have continued to decline and are now at a historically low level.
Suniva’s “ask”, if granted, could subject all imported cells and panels to the tariff to ALL imports from ALL countries with the floor prices being at the manufacturers’ level, thus panel prices to the consumer may well be in excess of $1.00 per watt!!!
This all-encompassing “ask” would have a much more profound impact on overall solar electric system prices than the 2012 decision.
Impact on Residential Solar Prices
The solar panel represents between one-third and one-half of the materials cost of a typical residential system. According to GTM Research, “ If Suniva gets the prices it’s asking for, solar equipment prices would effectively double, setting the industry back by years.” That would result in an increase in the overall cost of a system of 25% to 35% over today’s prices!!!
Although it is impossible to predict the outcome with any degree of certainty, the current Administration’s view on trade and domestic manufacturing may cause them to be unduly sympathetic to Suniva’s petition.
How to Beat the Price Impact
The current expectation is that a final decision will be rendered before the end of this year. If you are considering a solar power system why wait any longer? Visit us at OneClickSolar to design and order your system to lock in today’s low prices.