SEIA has released some early findings of its survey to solar companies after the Commerce Dept. decided to investigate allegations of tariff circumvention by solar panel manufacturers. Since the investigation decision just one week ago, 75% of survey respondents (200 companies) have said that solar panel deliveries have been canceled or delayed.
More than 90% of companies polled said that the DOC’s actions are having a severe or devastating impact on their bottom line. All market segments — residential, commercial, community solar and utility-scale solar — overwhelmingly reported devastating or severe impacts from the investigation.
“This investigation is based on a meritless trade case that is hammering the solar industry in real-time and diminishing our efforts as a country to tackle climate change,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “We urge the administration to expedite this investigation and end this unnecessary roadblock to our clean energy future.”
Commerce initiated country-wide circumvention inquiries last week to determine if solar cells and modules exported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam that use Chinese components are circumventing antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) orders on solar cells from China, which have been in affect since 2012. California solar panel assembler Auxin Solar petitioned Commerce to look into the potential circumvention.
SEIA said that all domestic manufacturers that responded to the survey said this case will have a devastating or severe effect on their ability to operate. Domestic panel manufacturers still need to import solar cells, which are likely to have Chinese polysilicon. Two-thirds of the companies surveyed reported that half of their workforce was at risk and one-third of companies said their entire workforce was at risk.
The results of this SEIA survey come as the industry experiences unprecedented supply chain challenges and price increases. In 2021, solar equipment costs increased by 18% and the threat of previous trade actions caused project delays and cancelations, according to a report released by SEIA and Wood Mackenzie.
A subsequent report by Wood Mackenzie found that the circumvention petitions could eliminate 16 GW of panels from the U.S supply chain, which is two-thirds of all the panels the United States installed in 2021. SEIA estimates that as a result of this petition, the solar industry will lose 70,000 out of its 231,000 jobs.
“We’ve said that tariffs are not the right way to incentivize manufacturing, and that it is going to take time and policy commitment to move manufacturing into the United States at the scale that’s needed,” Hopper said. “The countries named in the petition have been reliable trading partners, and we need their products, in the near term at least, while we fight to establish a sustained and powerful manufacturing presence here in America.”
Commerce sent out questionnaires to solar panel companies working in the four Southeast Asian companies asking for more information on any Chinese wafers, silane, silver paste, solar glass, aluminum frames, junction boxes, EVA sheets and backsheets used in exported cells and modules. The companies have until April 21 to provide data.
Charles Clarke says
So AD/CVD has been in effect for 10 years and the industry is still weasling around them such that it affects 2/3rds of the market? Sounds like they aren’t trying.
David Vinch says
The American addiction to cheap Chinese products goes deeper than this singular industry, it’s time to cut the cord and get to work
THOMAS G BEISSWENGER says
Jordan is 100% right . I am in the exact situation right now. We had a very old roof when SunRun the biggest solar company at the time. Had a salesman tell us that our roof is acceptable to have solar panels on, but don’t worry our company will remove them free of charge one time to replace the roof. We finally got a new roof this year taking out a home equity loan and at the cost of $22000 we had to pay sunrun an additional $2000 to remove the panels because the 20 page contract the salesman had us sign after promising a couple of times that they would remove the panels for free. Included a clause that not only would they charge us but the contract also added that it superceded any other prior agreements. Without even stating how much it would cost. The day that they said they were charging us they wouldn’t tell us how they came to that amount. I could go on for days how a multi million maybe even billion dollar valued company screwed us over. They even wanted to charge us for two of the panels that weren’t working and that they had already told us they were replacing. They were gracious enough to take that off of the price. Gee thanks. Finally after filing a complaint with the BBB did they have someone call us saying they would contact the salesman of whom nobody prior even knew who it was. and on and on and on. I hope that they aren’t able to get their panels because if they don’t replace within 180 days they are in breach of their own contract
Jordan S Holston says
I think the solar industry in some cases is reaping what it has showed into the lives of innocent families like mine who went solar and now face financial hardship due to the lies and deception of solar companies. It’s amazing to me that they continue to get away with harming low income families like mine. How about you report on that? Feel free to contact me if you want to report on the real story that’s happening in America. Thank you
David Wilson says
I agree with Jordan check out the deceptive solar companies
Dan Hancock says
Jordan, I’m truly sorry you had that kind of experience. I’m in the solar industry, and work for a Certified B corp that employees over 100 people. In our area alone there are probably thousands employed in our Industry. And – there are a couple of companies that probably employ less than 50 people, and that use such deceptive marketing practices and poor installation services, they are giving our entire industry a bad name. Our states AG has open investigations. We have numerous complaints filed ourselves. We work to have these companies precluded from using any state funding because of their deceptive marketing practices. We do our best to educate consumers, but I do recognize it’s still a problem. So – again, I’m truly sorry for you, or anyone, who falls victim to these companies, but please consider not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Brad S. says
How were you deceived?