Solar Trade Case Decision
A landmark decision came through last Friday from the International Trade Commission. The judges ruled 4-0 in favor of American solar panel manufacturer Suniva in the Section 201 Petition. This long awaited decision addresses the ongoing flood of cheap, imported solar cells and panels into the US market. The scope of the ruling is unclear, as it was ruled under a controversial and long dormant trade case last used in 1982. There are certain political undertones present, as some recent discourse has trended towared a desire to help American manufacturers as well as a general apathy towards clean energy.
Much speculation has occurred, but the outcome and thus its effects, are not clear at all. The consensus is that it would hurt the American solar industry overall, but other say it could lead to the creation of many new solar manufacting jobs here in the US. I've spoken with several solar installers here in Oklahoma, and they are frozen for all intents and purposes by the complete uncertainty in their supply chain. There are already price increases coming through just this weekend.
The next official steps are very clear, though. The ITC will hold hearings and make a series of recommendations to the President by no later than November 13th. Then, the White House will have 2 months to make the final determination of remedies, if any, to be imposed on solar imports. So about the time of the OREC / AEE Joint Energy Conference 2018, we should know the outcome of the trade case completely.
Stay tuned for more announcements and analysis. We will have more at our next meeting, October 11th in Oklahoma City.