The Trump administration believes exempting US imports of bifacial modules from the safeguard tariff would apply significant pressure on prices of domestically produced bifacial modules, and has hence sought to impose again duties on the panels by October 25, 2020. (Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour/Flickr)
- US government will be bringing back bifacial solar modules under Section 201 tariffs
- It will be done within 15 days of the proclamation issued and the administration said it will also raise 15% duty for the 4th year to 18%
- SEIA said it will explore all possible options to reverse the move from the President
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The US government under President Donald Trump has issued a proclamation to bring back imported bifacial solar panels under the ambit of Section 201 safeguard duties. It will revoke the exclusion currently enjoyed by such modules 15 days after the October 10, 2020 proclamation was issued.
At the same time, the President said he will increase the safeguard duty itself for the 4th year of the tariff imposition from 15% currently designed, to 18% (see Trump Slaps 30% Tariff On Imported Cells & Modules).
Pointing out to the growing role of bifacial modules in the market compared to monofacial modules that it believes can be substituted to account for a greater share of the market in the future, Trump stated in the proclamation that exempting imports of bifacial modules from the safeguard tariff would apply significant pressure on prices of domestically produced bifacial modules.
“The ITC also found that the exclusion of bifacial modules from the safeguard measure will likely result in substantial increases in imports of bifacial modules if such exclusion remains in effect, and that such modules will likely compete with domestically produced CSPV products in the United States market,” reads the proclamation.
This move by the White House has met with sharp criticism from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) that believes it counters the ‘critical needs’ of the country jeopardizing jobs, economic recovery in the face of a pandemic and a clean environment. “Aspects of this policy may also run counter to law,” argued SEIA CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. The association added that it will consider every option to reverse this ‘harmful approach’ as the country gets ready to choose its leader in the federal elections due in November 2020.
While bifacial modules were exempted from the tariffs initially, these were brought under the same in October 2019 to be again pulled back by a US court after Invenergy secured such an order. These modules were once again placed under duties in April 2020 (see Bifacial Solar Loses Protection From Section 201 In US). In June 2020, the trade court once again spoilt the Trump administration’s plans.
Following the news, shares of some solar companies were reported by Bloomberg to have fallen ‘sharply’ including Canadian Solar, Sunrun and JinkoSolar.