Here’s how a new US protectionist move is backfiring badly on the US solar industry [update]

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The US Department of Commerce (DOC) is investigating whether Southeast Asian star compartment manufacturers are utilizing parts made successful China that would usually beryllium taxable to a tariff. Most of the US star manufacture asserted that the DOC probe volition devastate their businesses, arsenic they trust connected star module imports to conscionable increasing demand.

April 27: According to new analysis, conducted past week and released contiguous by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), star installation forecasts for 2022 and 2023 are being chopped by 46% owed to the DOC investigation. The lawsuit volition effect successful a driblet of 24 gigawatts (GW) of planned star capableness implicit the adjacent 2 years, which is much star than the manufacture installed successful each of 2021.

SEIA has besides collected much than 700 survey responses to seizure project-level information and the interaction felt by companies.

Four-fifths of survey respondents – 83% – that acquisition oregon usage photovoltaic modules reported canceled oregon delayed module supply.

318 utility-scale projects that relationship for 51 GW of star capableness and 6 GWh of attached artillery retention are being canceled oregon delayed. $52 cardinal of utility-scale concern is astatine risk.

SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said:

This lawsuit is destroying cleanable energy, and needlessly taking down American businesses and workers successful its wake.

Trying to assistance the US star industry, but hurting it instead

April 5: The DOC’s probe of the assembly of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cells successful 4 Southeast Asian countries could instrumentality up to a year, and suppliers person indicated they whitethorn halt shipments from those countries to the US until a last ruling is issued.

Auxin Solar, a California-based star sheet shaper whose website states that it’s the “longest-running CSPV shaper successful the USA,” petitioned the US Department of Commerce successful February to behaviour an anti-dumping circumvention probe of star cells from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Auxin claims that tariffs connected star imports would boost home manufacturing. But the bulk of US star companies, arsenic good arsenic the SEIA, reason this investigation, due to the fact that the US is babelike connected star module imports to conscionable increasing demand.

So SEIA enactment retired a survey to star companies to measurement the interaction of the DOC’s probe connected their businesses.

As of 8 a.m. ET today, 74% of 200 companies surveyed reported that their sheet deliveries person already been canceled oregon delayed. According to the SEIA, 84% of each US star module
imports travel from the 4 countries being investigated, and determination is insufficient non-Chinese capableness elsewhere to cost-effectively proviso US demand.

Further, each star companies surveyed anticipated harm crossed the worth chain, and 100% of home manufacturers successful peculiar are expecting the Southeast Asian probe to person terrible oregon devastating impacts.

The results of this survey travel arsenic the manufacture experiences unprecedented proviso concatenation challenges and terms increases. In 2021, star instrumentality costs accrued by 18%, and the menace of erstwhile commercialized actions caused task delays and cancellations, according to a study released by SEIA and Wood Mackenzie.

A consequent study by Wood Mackenzie recovered that the circumvention petitions could destruct 16 gigawatts of panels from the US proviso chain, which is two-thirds of each the panels the US installed successful 2021.

SEIA estimates that arsenic a effect of this petition, the star manufacture volition suffer 70,000 retired of its 231,000 jobs.

Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO, said contiguous successful an emailed statement:

We impulse the medication to expedite this probe and extremity this unnecessary roadblock to our cleanable vigor future.

We’ve said that tariffs are not the close mode to incentivize manufacturing, and that it is going to instrumentality clip and argumentation committedness to determination manufacturing into the United States astatine the standard that’s needed.

The countries named successful the petition person been reliable trading partners, and we request their products, successful the adjacent word astatine least, portion we combat to found a sustained and almighty manufacturing beingness present successful America.

Electrek’s Take

This DOC probe is good intended and poorly executed. A US tariff connected products made overseas isn’t going to bash immoderate bully if capable of those products to proviso request aren’t made domestically.

It’s large that Auxin Solar manufactures CSPV cells, but tin it marque capable for each azygous star institution successful the US that needs them?

US manufacturing of star cells and panels needs to beryllium kickstarted, but it’s a large and important cognition that volition instrumentality years to establish.

And arsenic a result, the much-needed star manufacture maturation could travel to a screeching halt, and past everyone loses.

The Biden medication needs to reconsider this investigation, arsenic it’s shooting its ain clime alteration goals successful the ft and kneecapping the captious star industry.

Read more: Wind, solar, EVs, tin forestall catastrophic clime change, says caller IPCC report

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