By pv magazine USA
The U.S. Section 201 tariff exemption for imported bifacial solar modules has been repealed, with the panels now subject to a 20% penalty – the same tariff applied to almost all crystalline silicon solar panels imported since. 2018.
Here is the decision of the American Court of International Trade. The tariff is expected to drop to 18% in February. But the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) is opposed to tariffs. “We are calling on President-elect Biden to remove these tariffs a year earlier,” SEIA CEO Abby Hopper said at a recent press briefing.
Hopper added that signals from the Biden transition point to an understanding of the impact of tariffs on the industry. She noted that five solar companies have started in the US market and said repealing the Item 201 tariff could cause US facilities to fail. “It will come as no surprise to the domestic manufacturing sector that these tariffs end. It doesn’t work, ”she said.
Hopper said there are ways to bring manufacturing back to the United States without depending on tariffs. She cited a recent white paper with targets of 100 GW of domestic manufacturing capacity for renewable energy.
The plaintiffs could bring new lawsuits directly against Trump’s proclamation, according to Reuters. SEIA General Counsel John Smirnow said the business group could take legal action over the ruling.
Historically, import tariffs have been a blunt instrument with a toll full of unintended consequences. Certainly, module tariffs contribute to the United States having some of the highest utility scale solar costs in the world.
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