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Investigation halts solar projects in US

By agedleadstore
Investigation halts solar projects in US Feature Image
3 minute read

Hundreds of solar projects have been delayed or canceled in the U.S. following an investigation into solar panels and parts coming from China.

The Commerce Department began an investigation in March to determine whether Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam are using solar components from China that are subject to U.S. tariffs.

These four countries supply about 80 percent of U.S. solar panels and parts.

According to CNN, some solar leaders are worried this investigation could devastate the industry.

In late April, a survey from the Solar Energy Industries Association found that 318 solar projects already were delayed or canceled due to the investigation.

Four-fifths of the survey’s respondents, or 83 percent, of those who purchase or use crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules from those four countries reported a canceled or delayed module supply.

Additionally, 70 percent of respondents said that at least half of their solar and storage workforce is at risk, while over 200 respondents reported that their entire solar and storage workforce is at risk.

Industry leaders expect many more project delays and cancellations to follow.

The Commerce Department launched the investigation after Auxin Solar, a small U.S.-based company, filed a complaint.

“When prices of finished panels from Southeast Asia come in below our bill of materials cost, American manufacturers cannot compete,” Auxin CEO Mamun Rashid told CNN.

Rashid told CNN that if foreign producers are “circumventing U.S. law” and causing harm to producers like Auxin Solar, it needs to be addressed.

He said the frustration should be aimed at foreign suppliers evading U.S. law, not at his company for filing the complaint.

Among other forms of criticism, the company’s Google reviews have been flooded with dozens of complaints, accusing them of “single-handedly setting the industry back decades” and “using politics and political clout to stay in business.” 

Experts believe this investigation, along with the high cost of solar components and lack of legislation for more renewable energy, will significantly cut the estimated solar additions in the U.S. this year from the expected 27 gigawatts to maybe only 10 gigawatts.

The Commerce Department believes the investigation is necessary due to strict trade laws.

Department officials told CNN preliminary findings could be released by August, but final results could take as long as January 2023.

Many state leaders are concerned about how the investigation will impact solar growth and jobs in their states.

According to CNN, a bipartisan group of 19 senators wrote to Biden asking for an expedited preliminary decision.

Experts believe that in order to move forward, the U.S. must incentivize domestic solar manufacturing to boost the deployment of renewables.

Photo by Vivint Solar

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