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

BREAKING: ITC Makes Unanimous Decision on Chinese Cell & Modules

The International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted 6-0 that imports of Chinese solar cells have harmed U.S. solar manufacturers. The ruling means that tariffs will indeed be added to solar modules that include cells manufactured in China. Further, the ITC has determined that there were no critical circumstances, and thus no reason to apply the tariffs retroactively, a move applauded by the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE).

Responding to the ITC ruling, E.L. “Mick” McDaniel, Managing Director of Suntech America offered this statement: 

The continued growth of trade barriers represents a serious challenge to the U.S. solar industry, for American jobs, and for energy consumers globally. SolarWorld’s hypocritical campaign has forced the fast-growing American solar industry to foot the bill for SolarWorld’s competitive failures. Further damage can be prevented if governments engage in constructive dialogue to roll back protectionist barriers that limit our industry’s ability to compete against fossil fuels. As a U.S. manufacturer and global company, Suntech will continue to oppose unnecessary solar taxes and promote affordable solar energy everywhere. As a global company with global supply chains and manufacturing in China, Japan, and the U.S., we remain committed to our U.S. customers and will continue to supply hundreds of megawatts of high-quality, affordable solar panels that will not be subject to these U.S.-China tariffs.

Our original story, published on October 10, 2012:

The U.S. Commerce Department today returned a hawkish decision on its investigation into the dumping and subsidization of Chinese solar exports, levying associated import tariffs on several billion dollars worth of the imports, ranging from 18.32 percent to 249.96 percent of declared value. The dumping complaint was initiated by Bonn's SolarWorld, and has been joined by several other U.S. manufacturers. The politically and economically contentious case positioned "injured" solar cell and photovoltaic module makers in the United States on one side of the legal action, while solar developers, distributors and installers were lined up on the other side, seeking to keep lower prices in the global solar industry.

Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), commented that, “While today’s decision rightly shows that the U.S. will protect its rights in the global trading system, trade litigation alone is not enough to solve the complex challenges that exist between the U.S. and China. What is immediately clear is that for solar to thrive globally, there is a need to build consensus on acceptable forms of government support for industry.“ He added that, "Prior to these trade cases, the U.S. and Chinese solar industries enjoyed a strong, productive working relationship. For both sides to succeed going forward, we must return to our collaborative roots at both the industry and government levels."

Early reports on the damages dished out by Commerce indicate that among the most affected Chinese companies, Suntech Power Holdings was assigned a cumulative anti-dumping (AD) import duty of 31.73 percent plus a countervailing (CVD), or anti-subsidy, duty of 14.78 percent. Similarly, Trina Solar was assigned a cumulative 18.32 percent anti-dumping import duty plus a 15.97 percent anti-subsidy duty. These two companies imported the lion's share of the Chinese solar goods in question during the investigation period. According to Bloomberb news, an additional 59 Chinese companies will be subject to an anti-dumping penalty of 25.96 percent, based on a determination by the Commerce Department of how much below cost they were selling their goods. All other Chinese producers will be subject to a 249.96 percent rate to deter dumping. There was a 10.54 percent reduction in the AD rate to avoid double counting of anti-subsidy rates. 

Because the duties are complicated and were altered from the prelimary duties assigned, the Washington-based Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) released the folliowing chart to provide more clarification.

CASE is an opponent of the trade case and President Jigar Shah responded to the final Commerce rulings saying, "We are gratified that the scope of today’s decision is limited only to solar cells made in China and that the [Commerce] Department did not significantly increase the tariff from its preliminary decision in May. We are hopeful that continued innovations in technology, a competitive global marketplace, and demand-generated pressure for lower prices will take precedence moving forward. At the same time, we remain concerned about the growing global trade war, which will only hurt American solar industry jobs, growth and consumers."

CASE and other opponents to the anti-dumping investigation laid out an argument that continuing lower costs in solar are inevitable, and have positive effects for the surviving players in the industry. "On behalf of 97 percent to 98 percent of the U.S. solar industry that fought against SolarWorld, we are all looking forward to ending this distraction and returning to our everyday focus of creating jobs and lowering renewable energy costs,” Shah added.

“We’re pleased with the margins calculated by the Commerce Department, particularly the subsidy margins which increased significantly on the entire Chinese industry,” Timothy Brightbill, an attorney for Wiley Rein LLP in Washington who represents manufacturers led by SolarWorld, said in an interview with Bloomberg news.

“Only fair competition can provide sustainable gains in technological efficiency, cost reduction and end-user pricing.  Commerce’s decision raises the industry’s chances of reclaiming equal footing for domestic, sustainable and environmentally sound solar-technology producers and their jobs,” said Gordon  Brinser, President of SolarWorld America in a statement.

The U.S.-China Solar Trade War is far from over. The U.S. International Trade Commission ITC will determine on November 7 whether U.S. manufacturers have been harmed by Chinese imports. If the ITC does determine injury has occurred, tariffs imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department would continue. In retaliation, China in May filed a complaint against U.S. subsidies that affected over $7 billion worth of Chinese products.

The European Union, in a separate set of proceedings also is investigating the dumping of Chinese solar products on the continent, albeit considering a broader scope of products than those considered in the U.S. cases, affecting some 26.5 billion worth of imports. The EU proceedings are expected to take several more months.

Image: Gavel via Shutterstock.

Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox - FREE!

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World Magazine and our award-winning e-Newsletter to stay up to date on current news and industry trends.

 Subscribe Now



Evaluating the Case for Module-Level Shutdown

Hannes Knopf With 2014 NEC adoption in full swing, many are anticipating what the next version of the code will hold for the PV in...

A Case Study in Energy-Transition Momentum

Tim King South Australia is clearly at the forefront of the global energy transition as it establishes a fast-moving model oth...

Listen Up: Can I Get Solar if my Roof is Shaded?

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World Rooftop solar panels only work when they are in direct sunlight. So if you have a partially shaded roof, the output o...

US Senate Democrats Unveil Energy Bill That Restores PTC and Extends ITC

Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg Senate Democrats unveiled a bill that would provide more tax credits for renewable energy while killing some tax ince...


NC State University Installs Student-Funded Spotlight Solar Structure to Drive Awareness and Adoption of Clean Energy

North Carolina State University (NC State) will today showcase its commitment to clean ...

Canadian Solar Signs Agreement with Mashiki Town and Kumamoto Prefecture to Build 47 MW Solar Plant in Japan

Canadian Solar Signs Agreement for 47 MW Solar Plant

NEC Energy Partners with Eos Energy Storage to Bring Revolutionary Energy Storage Product to Market

NEC Energy Solutions (“NEC ES”), a subsidiary of NEC Corporation, announced today that ...

$100 Discount on 5-day Advanced PV Project Experience Workshop

Upcoming 5-day Workshops: Nov. 7 - 11 Feb. 6 - 10


Beyond Utility 2.0: Part 4 “Next Steps”

Principles, Structure, and Policies of Energy Democracy Energy democracy can best be described as an electricity sy...

30 Minutes Off

Smartphones have become one of the most valuable tools in the business world. They give us access to our email, conta...

Weather watching

GCube, the renewable energy sector insurance underwriter, has launched a new Weather Risk Transfer mechanism to provi...

How to Save on Your Next Power Bill

  Your rooftop solar is going to generate less electricity over the winter months. Your hot water and he...


Charles W. Thurston is a journalist who specializes in renewable energy, from finance to technological processes. He has been active in the industry for over 25 years, living and working in locations ranging from Brazil to Papua New Guinea.


Volume 18, Issue 4


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


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



Successfully Integrating Solar: A Proactive Approach

•      What does the increasing solar penetrati...

Solar Power Asset Management and Performance

SEIA and SEPA collaborated with industry leaders to present the first ev...

Solar Power Northeast

  From the team that produced Solar Power Southeast and the sol...


Fast facts: 4 things you need to know about the state of solar fina...

Fast facts: 4 things you need to know about the state of solar financing...

10 Questions You Should Be Asking

Tony Robbins is fond of saying that the quality of your life is directly...

Join us at the New Solar Power Northeast

From the team that produced Solar Power Southeast and the sold out P...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now