Shipments of Chinese, Taiwanese PV surged before trade rulings

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NPD Solarbuzz has released its latest analysis of U.S. PV imports, which looks at the top 20 global PV module makers in the years preceding preliminary anti-dumping and anti-subsidy rulings in June and July 2014. The analysis is based on the origin of the cells, not the location of module assembly.

These top 20 module makers represented over 70% of global PV module shipments. NPD Solarbuzz found that among this group, the share of modules shipped into the U.S. made with Chinese and Taiwanese cells increased from 40% from mid-2012 to mid-2013 to 58% in the following four quarters.

Likewise, the share of PV modules with cells from Southeast Asia in this group fell from 39% to 33% during the period in question, and the share from the United States, Japan and other locations fell from 21% to 9%.

“Trade investigations can impacts markets and do impact markets, but they often impact them in ways that the proponents of the trade cases did not expect or were not seeking,” notes NPD Solarbuzz Senior Analyst Michael Barker.

The company predicts that the volume of module imports with Chinese and Taiwanese cells will fall during the third quarter of 2014 and for the next few quarters. During this time U.S. downstream players will use up their inventory levels of Chinese modules, and wait for final trade decisions in December 2014.

NPD Solarbuzz also predicts that Chinese PV makers will continue to target the U.S. market, but notes that new capacity investments may be delayed until 2015 due to uncertainty about final trade rulings.