US government halts certain PV panel shipments due to issues of forced labor in China

On June 24, the U.S. government took action against forced labor in Xinjiang, China. As a result, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) on silica-based products made by Hoshine Silicon Industry Co., Ltd., a company located in Xinjiang, and its subsidiaries.

Personnel at all U.S. ports of entry will detain all shipments that contain polysilicon that was manufactured in Xinjiang, China. Polysilicon is a key ingredient in solar panels.

In addition, the Department of Commerce has added the following Chinese companies to a blacklist restricting their products from the U.S. market “for participating in the practice of, accepting, or utilizing forced labor in Xinjiang and contributing to human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other minority groups in Xinjiang.”

The companies are:

  • Hoshine Silicon Industry (Shanshan);
  • Xinjiang Daqo New Energy;
  • Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals;
  • Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Technology,
  • and XPCC

Abby Hopper, CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) issued a statement about forced labor in January 2021.

“We’ve said it before and will say it again: we are disgusted by these practices, and forced labor has no place in the solar industry. These claims are a direct contrast to our values and how we strive to operate as an industry. We expect our companies to hold themselves to the highest standards possible when it comes to the environment and health and safety of their workers, and many embrace strict operating standards.

“Since the fall, we’ve been proactively telling all solar companies operating in the Xinjiang region to immediately move their supply chains. We’d like to reiterate this call to action and ask all solar companies to immediately leave the Xinjiang region,” her statement read.

In December 2020, SEIA took proactive measures against supply chain disruptions, creating traceability protocols for products in the solar supply chain. In addition, SEIA asked solar companies to sign a pledge to oppose forced labor, which hundreds did.

See the signatories here.

We will continue to update this story as events unfold.

Author

  • Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com

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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com

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