SolarCity/Silevo may have to pay duties on Chinese-made cells

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Today The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) issued a preliminary ruling which finds that products manufactured by Silevo should be covered by 2012 rulings which imposed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on PV cells from China.

High efficiency PV maker Silevo was acquired by SolarCity in 2014. The company has since begun construction on a factory in upstate New York to make Silevo’s heterojunction PV cells and modules, however at present SolarCity/Silevo manufactures primarily in China.

Last fall, SolarCity asked the U.S. Department of Commerce for an exemption from the duties, arguing that it makes a thin film product. Under the ruling, only crystalline silicon PV cells are subject to duties, and Silevo’s Triex PV cells incorporate both amorphous silicon thin film and crystalline silicon layers.

ITA notes that both SolarCity and SolarWorld, which petitioned for the duties, have submitted substantial documentation to support their arguments. The agency appears to have rejected SolarCity’s position, but the final ruling is not until June 23.

SolarWorld’s legal team welcomed the ruling: "We are reviewing the factual and legal analysis at this time, but we are encouraged by this ruling," notes Tim Brightbill, partner at Wiley Rein LLP. "(This) should help clarify for the industry that these types of ‘hybrid’ products – crystalline-silicon cells with thin film layers –are subject to the scope of the order.”

SolarCity had not responded to pv magazine‘s request for comment at the time of publication.