Recent regulatory developments impacting the solar supply chain have left many in the industry with more questions than answers.
Two primary culprits arise as the cause of this uncertainty:
- The U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s (DOC) final determination on the Anti-Dumping and Anti-Circumvention (AD/CVD) duties, and
- The allegations of forced labor in the solar supply chain and subsequent detention of module imports under the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act (UFLPA).
As a global leader at the forefront of only solar photovoltaic (PV) module technologies and solutions and in building a sustainable future, Trina Solar understands that true sustainability covers three pillars: environmental, social responsibility, and economic — each just as important as the others. That’s why Trina preemptively took steps years ago to address the issues at the heart of the AD/CVD and the UFLPA to maintain full compliance and traceability.
This article serves as a clarification of facts and outlines the steps Trina has taken to prevent forced labor in its supply chain and ensure that modules imported into the U.S. comply with U.S. regulations. Trina looks forward to continuing to use ethically sourced materials and material processing to supply the high-quality, reasonably priced modules from a bankable, Tier 1 solar module manufacturer that the domestic market urgently needs.
AD/CVD Tariffs Do Not Apply to Trina Solar Modules
The DOC’s 2012 AD/CVD ruling determined that cell fabrication and module production outside China qualified as “substantive transformation.” Therefore, modules produced outside of China that incorporated cells fabricated outside of China have been exempt from AD/CVD tariffs since they were announced. The Aug. 2023 DOC ruling redefined “substantive transformation” to also include either wafer production outside of China or requiring non-Chinese sources for 4-of-6 Bill of Materials (BOM).
The August DOC ruling determined that some Chinese suppliers were manufacturing modules in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam to avoid paying duties on Chinese-made solar goods. Therefore, the DOC extended AD/CVD rates to module exports from these countries.
The new conclusion conflicts directly with the DOC’s long-standing previous ruling that determined the significant transformative step involved in cell production. Despite strong disagreement over this reversal, the new determination will greatly impact costs for materials and induce a short-term supply-chain disruption since non-Chinese wafer and 4-of-6 listed BOM cannot meet U.S. demand.
President Biden’s two-year moratorium paused AD/CVD duties on any module and cell imports from the four listed countries until June 2024, provided customers deploy the imports in the U.S. market within six months of the moratorium’s termination. The ruling represents a severe blow for suppliers without wafer plans and will create a module shortage in 2024.
As other suppliers scramble to source wafers from unaffected countries and customers look for AD/CVD-compliant modules, Trina has already taken the appropriate steps to stay ahead of the curve.
Well-established Supply Chain Diversification
Before the DOC’s December 2022 AD/CVD determination, Trina was working to expand to comply with regulations and minimize tariff impact.
Trina rolled off its first batch of 210mm ingot at its newly opened 6.5 GW wafer facility in Vietnam, with full-scale operation expected by Oct. 2023. These wafers are primarily used in cell and module production at Trina’s Southeast Asia sites, which manufacture the company’s dedicated supply to the U.S. market.
Since 2021, Trina has used only non-Chinese polysilicon for modules imported into the U.S. market. Trina is the first — and still the only — company to achieve a fully independent supply chain outside of China by using EU and U.S.-sourced polysilicon and manufacturing wafers, cells, and modules in Southeast Asia.
Trina’s cell and module manufacturing facility will utilize Vietnamese wafer, providing the company with all the capabilities necessary to meet near-term U.S. market requirements and remain exempt from circumvention tariffs.
Trina’s 4-of-6 BOM
Trina Solar has secured the capability to procure 4-of-6 BOM listed by the DOC for its modules outside of China.
As the importer of record, Trina’s products will be certified and compliant with U.S. regulations. Products purchased and delivered in the U.S. comply with the August 18, 2023 circumvention ruling.
Trina Solar Sources UFLPA-Compliant Poly for All US Modules
Since 2021, well-respected United States and European polysilicon partners have sourced 100% of the polysilicon used in Trina’s U.S. modules.
The company made this crucial move as a proactive step toward ensuring ethical sourcing practices and as an essential measure to prevent the inclusion of conflict minerals, particularly those associated with the Darfur conflict. This ethically driven, forward-thinking approach led to Trina establishing a fully UFLPA-compliant supply chain in 2021.
A Step Above: Tracing the Upstream Silicon Supply Chain
Building on its established commitment to responsible sourcing, Trina Solar took another significant leap in 2022 with expanded infrastructure for compliance to encompass the entire silicon supply chain, tracing materials all the way upstream to mining activities. This expansion was driven by a dedication to preventing the use of materials from regions associated with forced labor allegations.
Advanced Traceability Infrastructure and Response System
Trina can respond quickly and efficiently to CBP compliance requests due to the company’s advanced traceability infrastructure and rapid response system to provide detailed documentation.
Rising to the Moment
By using 100% EU and U.S. poly and 100% wafer from Vietnam to supply the U.S., Trina Solar remains compliant with the DOC’s final ruling and the UFLPA, enabling the unburdened importation of the high-quality, Tier 1 modules the country needs.
Interested in learning more? Contact our local U.S. team of solar industry experts.
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