The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Solar Panel Tariffs – No Benefit, Only Problems

Testimony at the October 3 hearing before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) confirmed the misguided nature of government-imposed solar panel "dumping" tariffs and highlighted the dangers of antagonizing one of our strategic trade partners. With mere days to go before ITC's final determination on the contentious tariffs issue, key members of the U.S. solar industry used the hearing to voice serious concern about the policy's effects.

Since the time German-owned SolarWorld first petitioned the ITC for an investigation into China’s trade practices in this space, a range of U.S. solar companies have warned against imposing tariffs. Nonetheless, the ITC earlier this year imposed tariffs on solar panel imports from China on a preliminary basis, and now SolarWorld is using the same playbook before the European Union.

The effect on reducing imported Chinese solar panels into the U.S. market has, at most, been minimal. Indeed, most Chinese-made solar panels that enter the U.S. market come from very large, “Tier 1,” manufacturers that have vast cross-border capabilities. These Chinese companies quickly applied a “tolling” strategy whereby their solar panels have final components installed in Taiwan or some other country and then get imported to the U.S. Thus the “new normal”: we’re still buying Chinese products – they’re just “tolled” through Taiwan. To critics, this is technical sleight of hand; to the global market, it’s survival.

The reality remains that U.S.-imposed tariffs have done little to protect SolarWorld and other companies that fundamentally can’t compete on their own. Instead it has antagonized a strategic trade partner who is now threatening to impose their own tariffs on imported polysilicon material, which would hurt U.S. producers. And, it has introduced additional cost into the equation for solar power which is counterproductive to the continued growth and stability of an industry, which is creating jobs for workers in the U.S. and around the world.

As a supplier to the global solar market, we at GT Advanced Technologies have shared our opinion with the ITC. The U.S. government’s final determination on October 9 could reduce the tariffs somewhat from the preliminary levels and we expect a possible overturn of the “critical circumstances” provision that allows for retroactive imposition of duties. But the tariffs will likely remain.

We hope ITC officials are willing to analyze the real impacts of these troubling tariffs, and elect instead to let companies compete in the global marketplace as they should: on their own two feet.

Tom Gutierrez is CEO of GT Advanced Technologies, a leading global provider of advanced production equipment and technology in the solar and LED industries, headquartered in Nashua, N.H.

Lead image: Solar Panel via Shutterstock.

 

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Hybrid solar minigrid to power Tanzanian island village

Tildy Bayar

A hybrid solar photovoltaic-battery energy storage-diesel minigrid project aims to provide power for around 400 households in the remote island village of Lake Victoria (pictured) in Tanzania. 

World Moves Toward 100 Percent Renewable Energy – First Electricity, Then Heating/Cooling, and Finally Transportation

Junko Movellan The exclusive use of energy from renewable resources in at least one sector has now become a feasible goal for 8 countries. Diane Moss, Founding Director of Renewables 100 Policy Institute, discussed this remarkable develop...

Solar power growth impacting UK electricity sector

Diarmaid Williams

Q2 of 2015 saw a large increase in the generation of electricity from solar PV in the UK, with the growth having a significant impact on electricity market prices and other supply factors.

PACE Finance Opening Doors for C&I Solar In California

Susan Kraemer, Correspondent With its excellent renewable policy, California leads the nation in solar. Over the years both the Renewable Portfolio Standard and the California Solar Initiative drove utility scale and residential solar deployment. But w...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Grid-connected and Off-grid Photovoltaics

This training covers all aspects of planning, installation, maintenance,...

5th Annual Hydro Plant Maintenance

Join maintenance professionals to discuss the challenges in maintenance ...

2015 Green Energy Expo

Stop by and visit Canadian Solar at the Green Energy Expo in Mexico City!

COMPANY BLOGS

Do Your Goals Match Your Values?

Before you set goals for your company or your personal work performance ...

LSX rises with sustainable wine making in Mexico

his custom LSX solar canopy shades the upper deck organic gard...

A Networking Story

When you’re at a networking event and you meet someone who works i...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS