The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) voted unanimously last week that domestic producers of solar panels have been significantly harmed by unfair competition from imported solar panels. They have until November to determine if they will recommend a specific remedy to the Trump administration, which could include a tariff on solar panel imports.
Suniva, Inc., a U.S. solar panel producer based in Georgia, which declared bankruptcy in April, filed a petition with the ITC, joined by SolarWorld, alleging that increased imports of solar panels, mostly from China, have substantially harmed domestic producers. The petition invokes a U.S. trade law allowing the President to unilaterally impose tariffs, or take other action, on imports that are hurting U.S. manufacturers. Suniva’s petition alleged at least eight other domestic producers have filed for bankruptcy, shut down facilities or laid off employees since 2012, and asked the ITC to recommend that the President impose a tariff on imported panels, which could double their price.
The Solar Energy Industries Association, a national trade association, issued a press release following the decision, expressing their disappointment with the finding.
Declining costs of solar panels have contributed to the booming solar industry, resulting in small-scale solar generation almost doubling from 2014 to 2016. A hearing is set for October 3, 2017 to discuss the remedies and the ITC has until November 13 to make a report with their recommendations. The Trump administration can implement a remedy anytime between November 14, 2017 and January 12, 2018.
To read more about the petition and the hearing: