US Customs clears solar panels after holding them over forced labor fears


From pv magazine USA

US Customs and Border Protection has released a significant shipment of solar panels for sale in the US market, after initially holding them under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), according to a recently published industry note from Philip Shen, the managing director of ROTH Capital Partners.

Shen said the authorities released JinkoSolar modules made with Wacker polysilicon.

“We believe this could result in a ramp up of volume and imports,” wrote Shen.

The UFLPA places the burden of proof on buyers to show that goods imported from China's Xinjiang region do not have any connection to forced labor. To be in compliance, companies must provide a comprehensive supply chain map, complete lists of all workers at their facilities, and proof that workers were not subjected to forced labor conditions.

In November, Reuters reported that more than 1,000 shipments of solar energy components, valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars, had been blocked in US ports under the UFLPA. ROTH Capital said in August that as much as 3 GW had been held by US Customs since the law was enacted. As much as 9 GW to 12 GW of solar modules could be prevented from entering US markets by the end of the year, added Shen.

ROTH Capital said the release of the panels will have a positive impact on the US utility-scale solar sector. It warned that US Customs may now start focusing beyond the top solar component importers.

“We could end up being in a two steps forward, one step back situation,” said the company.

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