- US Commerce Department has rejected the request for launching anti-circumvention inquiry on solar modules from Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand
- It has cited A-SMACC’s decision to not identify the individual companies that make up the group as the reason for the rejection
- SEIA has welcomed the decision saying it would save American jobs and provides certainty to companies to continue investing in US solar industry
The US Department of Commerce has rejected the request of launching circumvention inquiries into solar products shipped into the US by Chinese companies from Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand, made by an anonymous group called American Solar Manufacturers Against Chinese Circumvention (A-SMACC).
Represented by law firm Wiley, A-SMACC has repeatedly rejected calls to identify themselves citing fears of retaliation. This specific reason has gone against the team as the department has cited it to reject its requests.
A letter by the department, as shared by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), reads, “As noted above, not disclosing A-SMACC members’ names publicly hampers interested parties from fully commenting on the requests for circumvention inquiries and may hamper them from commenting on certain issues that could arise if Commerce were to initiate circumvention inquiries.”
SEIA that has been voraciously opposing ‘unlawful request’ of anti-circumvention petition from A-SMACC celebrated the department decision that it believes would have resulted in the loss of 46,000 solar jobs over the next 2 years while also hampering 18 GW in solar deployments by 2023 (see SEIA Warning On Higher Solar Tariffs).
“Today’s decision provides a rush of certainty for companies to keep their investments moving, hire more workers and deploy more clean energy,” said SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper Today’s decision, coupled with investments from the Build Back Better Act, will enable the solar industry to lead America’s transition to a prosperous clean energy future.”
A-SMACC’s representative law firm Wiley has not commented on the department’s decision so far.
Withhold Release Order (WRO) guideline changed
In a related development, Roth analysts point out an update in the WRO guidelines by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. While referring to the ‘high risk of forced labor’ in polysilicon products from Xinjiang, now states, “An importer can lower its risk of exclusions under the Hoshine WRO if it sources polysilicon from outside of Xinjiang.”
This means, according to Roth, that now the importer will not be required to prove the polysilicon sourced is not from Xinjiang. “This adjustment opens the door for more lenient enforcement. Moreover, we believe the traceability programs are currently capable of showing non-Xinjiang polysilicon, explained analysts.
For the background, the Biden administration in the US imposed WRO on solar panels being imported into the country with suspected links to Xinjiang originated polysilicon (see Sign Of Times To Come? US Govt. Detaining PV Modules).
In the process, around 100 MW of JinkoSolar modules and now 40.31 MW of LONGi Solar modules were detained by the CBP. The updated CBP guideline should give some relief to the stakeholders as it should be easy to prove the origin of polysilicon used.