Import to Injury

ITC rules on solar panels; decision goes to Mr. Trump

The International Trade Commission determined imported solar panels to be a threat to U.S. solar manufacturers in a 4-0 vote September 22. The ruling found that imports of cheap solar panels have “caused injury to domestic solar manufacturers”, and sets up a looming decision on future tariffs that will be in the hands of President Trump.

Two major U.S. solar panel manufacturers—Suniva of Norcross, Ga., and SolarWorld of Hillsboro, Ore.— brought the original complaint to the ITC in hopes of emphasizing the threat from cheaply imported Asian solar panels, mainly from China, that have largely contributed to rapid growth in the solar industry over the past five years. Rooftop installations have grown exponentially since 2011. In ruling in Suniva and SolarWorld’s favor, the ITC is expected to recommend tariffs on imported panels to the executive branch, a decision that has to be made in the next 90 days. While solar energy may seem like a natural rival of Mr. Trump, this instance could be complicated by the element of offshore supplies threatening American jobs and production.

Solar industry experts warn against the tariffs. The SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association) told CBS last Friday that a global tariff could cause a sharp price hike that could force the U.S. to lose out on solar installations capable of powering more than 9 million homes over the next five years — more than has been installed to date. States could forfeit billions of dollars of infrastructure investment and risk the approximately 90,000 solar-related jobs in the U.S. if the tariffs are imposed.

SEIA—the solar industry’s largest trade association—also pointed out that despite identifying as “American” companies, Suniva and SolarWorld are both majority-owned by Chinese and German shareholders, respectively.



  1. No Longer Tariff-ied | Electrical Apparatus Magazine - November 2, 2017

    […] ITC determined imported solar panels to be a threat to U.S. solar manufacturers in a 4-0 vote September 22. The ruling found that imports of cheap […]

  2. Tariff-ied | Electrical Apparatus Magazine - January 25, 2018

    […] Solar installation and repair workers, as well as some manufacturers, have been biting their nails as far back as September, when a complaint from two major solar companies (Suniva and SolarWorld) was motioned to the […]

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