Trade case opponents caution that a solar cell tariff would raise costs

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Organisation Wire/ AP SolarWorld Americas Inc. provided 14.2 megawatts DC of high-performance solar panels for a project near Fernley. A trade commission is expected to decide next week whether to proceed with a case that might cause tariffs on solar cells.

Friday, Sept. 15, 2017|2 a.m.

. A trade commission is expected to decide next week whether to continue with a case that could cause tariffs on solar batteries.

The tariffs would make solar panels more pricey and hurt the market, states Solar Energy Industries Association CEO Abigail Ross Hopper, who is leading the solar market in the event. The U.S. International Trade Commission will vote Sept. 22 on whether business Suniva and SolarWorld were injured by imports of solar batteries, which are put together to create photovoltaic panels.

If commissioners find in the two companies’ favor, Hopper says a remedy recommendation will be made prior to President Donald Trump makes the final decision. The requested tariffs on these imported cells would double the price of photovoltaic panels, halve the demand and cause 88,000 people to lose their tasks nationwide, Hopper said.

About 2,000 tasks in Nevada alone might be lost as a result of the tariffs, Hopper stated. The state’s solar market has been ramping up since the passage of legislation to bring back credits for power customers whose photovoltaic panels send out excess energy to the grid.

“The Nevada solar industry has actually had a tumultuous two years and lastly has some certainty. The future looks brilliant for solar here in this terrific state,” Hopper said. “This, without a doubt, creates great deals of uncertainty about the future of that market. All the hard work that the Legislature just did and the governor did and the commission did to produce a sustainable and clear course for domestic solar could be jeopardized if these tariffs are put in location.”

The case was heard Aug. 15, with both sides presenting testimony. Juergen Stein, CEO of SolarWorld Americas, said the company needs the commission’s aid to save U.S. solar manufacturing.

“At a time when need for our product is booming, there is exactly one presently active producer of both solar batteries and modules left in the United States– SolarWorld,” Stein affirmed in August. “We are one provider with a capacity of 2 to 3 percent of U.S. need, as well as we are operating well below capacity. We have actually needed to lay off numerous employees because mid last year, including 360 employees just last month.”

Global overcapacity makes the U.S. market the “first and last resort,” inning accordance with Stein. Paired with increased U.S. imports, these 2 aspects triggered American solar rates to buckle.

“Nations that had delivered almost no items to the United States in the past ended up being major suppliers practically overnight,” Stein said in his ready testament. “As an outcome, the domestic industry, in spite of modest boosts in production, did not gain from growing U.S. demand and saw its market share fall sharply.

The solar market utilized 260,000 people in 2015, with solar representing one from every 50 brand-new tasks, Hopper stated.

“We are worried that any tariff would be hazardous to the growth of the market,” stated Hopper, whose association represents more than 1,000 solar companies. “We believe it is incumbent upon us to prove why it’s a much better service to enable this market to continue to grow.”

The commission’s recommendation will go to Trump on Nov. 13. He would then have 2 months, up until early 2018, to make a choice.

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