With an expected preliminary decision on the Dept. of Commerce’s AD/CVD circumvention investigation pushed to Dec. 1, SEIA and 240 solar companies have sent a letter to Commerce Sec. Gina Raimondo requesting she reject the original petition.
The Commerce investigation started in March 2022 after California-based solar panel assembler Auxin Solar petitioned for a review of Chinese solar panel manufacturers moving portions of their manufacturing operations to Southeast Asia as a way to circumvent anti-dumping/countervailing duties (AD/CVD) in place against Chinese solar manufacturers since 2012. Specifically, Auxin wanted a deeper look at solar operations in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam to determine if Chinese wafers, aluminum frames, backsheets and more have been used in exported cells and modules. If enough Chinese product is found in Southeast Asian module exports, DOC could extend the AD/CVD to the mentioned countries.
Commerce must make its preliminary determination in this potential circumvention case by Dec. 1, and the companies on this letter make clear that an affirmative determination is not justified and will stifle America’s ability to deploy clean energy.
“President Biden took a crucial near-term step over the summer to free up a gridlocked solar supply chain, but companies won’t be able to capitalize on the administration’s landmark climate policy if this baseless case isn’t thrown out,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA. “The Inflation Reduction Act has launched a steady stream of manufacturing investments in the United States, but more tariffs will only undermine this success.”
The Biden Administration stepped in this June by issuing an executive order placing a two-year pause on any tariffs related to this case “in order to ensure the U.S. has access to a sufficient supply of solar modules to meet electricity generation needs while domestic manufacturing scales up.” Commerce would continue its investigation while giving U.S. contractors some breathing room to get projects online in the interim.
The U.S. solar and storage industry, backed by SEIA, remains firm that the case lacks legal merit. Solar cell and module manufacturing requires specialized equipment and is an intensive process. Because of the significant and major manufacturing work done in the Southeast Asian countries named in the investigation — a region that has previously supplied 80% of U.S. solar module demand — SEIA says the case initiated by Auxin Solar does not meet the standard for circumvention.
The manufacturing provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act put SEIA’s goal of 50 GW of U.S. solar production by 2030 within reach, but Commerce could crush demand with unjustified tariffs. The companies in the letter are calling on Commerce to drop the investigation so the solar and storage industry can continue to grow and invest in domestic manufacturing production.
Companies signing the letter include utility-scale and residential installers, developers, panel manufacturers, inverter manufacturers, mounting manufacturers, software companies, battery suppliers and more.
If the Dept. of Commerce issues its preliminary decision on Dec. 1, its final decision would come on May 1, 2023.
““The Inflation Reduction Act has launched a steady stream of manufacturing investments in the United States, but more tariffs will only undermine this success.””
The 201 tariffs brought against China has pretty much proven the U.S. can hurt themselves when China owns the majority of the supply chain, materials, refining the World needs to manufacture a product, in this case the mining, refining, foundry and manufacturing of wafers and cells to produce solar PV panels around the World. Either your country has their own supply chain from end to end or they rely on China to feed their daily manufacturing. We are in an era of the possibilities of just how dire supply chain constrictions, geopolitical and political sanctions can affect an entire country’s economic health and welfare. The company that promoted the AD/CVD Auxin Solar, has anyone taken a “deep dive” into who actually owns and finances this company? I smell interference beyond the claims of ‘other countries’ trying to influence American politics. So, after all the claims, shell companies, denials and a trip to the the philosophical application of “Occam’s razor” would we find a consortium of big oil and or big energy funding this one whiner to change the course of solar PV in the U.S.? Perhaps the SEC and the FTC should involve themselves in this Auxin Solar complaint. A company of around something like 100 employees, that ‘can’ manufacture 150MW of panels a (year) can hold up and even stop the flow of GW of needed solar PV panels to complete just the projects in the many construction queues around the U.S. right now is destructive and unnecessary to the industry as a whole. Foisting tariffs and costs of solar PV panels to rise in an attempt to “support” 150 employees from one company is insane. Yeah, sacrifice the momentum of solar PV application and construction from the residential system to large scale because one small company can’t compete with large international solar PV companies. The action is having the effect on construction of solar PV across the U.S. and is pushing back time lines for projects that should have been constructed when interest rates were hovering around 3% instead of around 7% today. Sacrificing this momentum has already hurt the “mandate” of grid decarbonization by 2035, all for one small solar PV company that can’t manufacture cost competitive solar PV panels. There is something so (wrong) in this whole process and complaint.