Forced labor act is last barrier to US solar rebound, claims executive


Sean Hunkler, the president and CEO of Houston-based FTC Solar, has said that the final hurdle to a recovery in the US solar industry will be “successfully navigating” import restrictions on modules under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). The UFLPA bans imports of solar panels that feature polysilicon produced by forced labor.

In a second-quarter update published this week, the US photovoltaics tracker maker said that its April-June revenue fell from $50.1 million in 2021 to $30.7 million. Hunkler said ongoing solar panel supply shortages are causing a “solar-module constrained US market.”

He warned that the current quarter which will represent “the low-water mark in terms of revenue” for FTC Solar. It expects a big rebound expected in the final three months of the year, but Hunkler acknowledged that the business is “still looking for incremental clarity on how much module supply will be available.”

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FTC Solar said it expects revenue of $16.5 million to $19 million in the current quarter. It said new project wins will lift that figure to $75 million to $90 million in the October-December period. Despite the year-on-year decline in second-quarter revenue, it reduced its three-month losses from $52.4 million in the second quarter of last year to $30.7 million in the April-June 2022 period.

“We believe that successfully navigating UFLPA import restrictions on solar modules remains the last hurdle for the industry to overcome to ensure a very strong recovery in 2023,” said Hunkler.

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