From pv magazine USA
The U.S. Section 201 tariff exemption for imported bifacial solar modules has been repealed, with panels now subject to a 20% penalty – the same tariff imposed on almost all imported crystalline silicon solar panels since 2018.
Here is the U.S. Court of International Trade’s ruling. The tariff is scheduled to drop to 18% in February. But the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) is opposed to the tariffs. “We are asking President-elect Biden to remove those tariffs a year early,” SEIA CEO Abby Hopper said in a recent press briefing.
Hopper added that signals from the Biden transition indicate an understanding of the impact of tariffs upon the industry. She noted that five solar companies started in the U.S. market and said that repealing the Section 201 tariff could cause U.S. facilities to fail. “It won’t come as a surprise to domestic manufacturing that those tariffs will end. It is not working,” she said.
Hopper said there are ways to bring manufacturing back to the United States without being reliant on tariffs. She cited a recent white paper with goals of 100 GW of domestic manufacturing capacity for renewable energy.
The plaintiffs may file new lawsuits directly challenging Trump’s proclamation, according to Reuters. SEIA’s general counsel, John Smirnow, said the trade group might sue over the ruling.
Historically, import tariffs have been a blunt instrument with a track record full of unintended consequences. Certainly, module tariffs contribute to the United States having some of the highest utility-scale solar costs in the world.
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