New Hampshire, U.S.A. — Solar players on both sides of the Pacific have been warily anticipating the Feb. 13 deadline when the Department of Commerce was set to announce whether it would impose duties on solar cells and modules coming in from China.
Now, it appears the wait will be extended for the second time. The new deadline for the DOC’s preliminary determination is March 2. In a development on Monday, the DOC determined that there has indeed been a surge of Chinese imports meant to enter the U.S. market ahead of the ruling. If the DOC decides to impose countervailing duties, they could be retroactively extended back to Dec. 3.
According to SolarWorld, which led the trade petition that kicked off the investigation, the Department of Commerce requested the extension at least partly because of slow response times from Chinese companies.
China Trade Statistics: In a week when President Obama mentioned the strained trade relationship between China and the United States, the American group of solar manufacturers that brought a trade investigation against China released statistics that it says proves China manufacturers flooded the U.S. market at the end of 2011 to get ahead of pending tariffs.
Allegations of Economic Espionage in Wind Industry: American Superconductor expects to begin a breach of contract suit this month in the Beijing Arbitration Commission against Sinovel, China’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, seeking a total of $790 million to cover current and contracted shipments of wind turbine components and software.
Wind Investigation Hurts Both Sides: An article in the international edition of People’s Daily contends that the trade investigation aimed at Chinese and Vietnamese-made wind towers imported into the U.S. will have a negative effect on both the American and Asian markets.
Asia’s Blistering PV Growth: Asia-Pacific markets together added 2.8 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV installations in 4Q11 on the way to a total of 6 GW for the entire year, an eye-popping 165% growth, thanks in large part to a massive run-up in China’s domestic sector, according to calculations from Solarbuzz.
A CIGS Leader: Japan’s Solar Frontier is seen as the emerging leader in the CIGS market with a strong manufacturing base and a growing project presence in California and India.
China Need Not Fear India Tariffs: Chinese manufacturers slowed marketing efforts in India due to the growing wave of module import opposition in the U.S., fearing that the Indian government would also impose import duties. But Chinese solar module makers should not fear India tariff or trade barriers that could restrict or affect exports to the fast-growing market.
500-MW Wind Plan in India: Welspun Energy has inked an agreement with New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh with a proposal to install 500 MW of wind energy capacity.
Solar Owners in Japan: Japanese small solar panel owners — householders and small businesses — sold 50 percent more power to utilities last year than in 2010.
A LOOK AHEAD
Indonesia’s Hydro Future: State-owned utility PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) has identified 96 potential hydroelectric power sites in Indonesia, sources report. Of those locations, about 60 percent would be developed by PLN, while the remaining would be offered to independent power producers.
Gallium Nitride Breakthrough: Japan’s Sumitomo Electric Industries and France’s Soitec announced that they have completed their lab work on producing gallium nitride wafers and are moving into pilot production.
India’s Solar Future: A government agency is working to create a solar atlas to help developers identify the most ideal places in which to build their projects.
Korean Biomass Proposal: South Korean investors are looking to establish a biomass pellet plant in Sarawak to expand its share in the global biomass feedstock market.
“The only challenge to solar is cost and that is on the favorable side…While you are exploring greater capacities of thermal power projects, the fact remains that coal is getting to be a scarce commodity, and that is going to drive the prices of commercial power higher.”
Inderpreet Wadhwa, head of Azure Power.
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