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US Solar Manufacturers Expect Damage To Business With DOC’s Anti-Circumvention Investigation

  • SEIA has shared preliminary results of its ongoing survey to assess impact of DOC investigation on anti-circumvention petition of Auxin Solar
  • Out of 200 respondents, 100% of domestic manufacturers see severe or devastating impact of the same
  • Energy storage projects paired with solar facilities may become uneconomical leading to contract and financing renegotiations
  • Majority of the respondents confirm cancellations or delays in panel deliveries across the value chain

Jobs in the US solar PV industry as well as projects, both are at risk with the US Department of Commerce (DOC) undertaking the anti-circumvention investigation entertaining an Auxin Solar petition, fear 3/4th of respondents to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) survey.

As per preliminary results of the survey shared by the association, the majority of the 200 respondents claim that panel deliveries have been cancelled or delayed since the DOC announcement was made public.

According to the SEIA survey, 100% of domestic manufacturing respondents expect severe or devastating impacts of the investigation with damage across the value chain. With panel supply disrupted, energy storage projects paired with solar PV may become ‘uneconomical’.

Moving forward would require renegotiation of all project financing agreements for solar and storage projects which will also put the workforce at risk, as per the respondents that represent all market segments, namely residential, commercial, community solar and utility scale solar.

Half of the respondents report 80% or more of their current-year solar pipeline at risk, according to the survey respondents.

The association counts 84% of all solar module imports to the US from the 4 nations of Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam that are the subject of this DOC investigation. It believes half of cells imported for domestic module production are also impacted by the investigation, while the US doesn’t have an active wafer production capacity of its own.

To compound the problems, in 2021 there were major cost escalations for projects due to tightened raw material supply and logistical challenges.

There is a commitment for 20 GW new manufacturing capacity as announced by various players in the US, but  it will depend on implementation of several policy initiatives as the Solar Energy Manufacturing Act (SEMA). A Coalition of US solar manufacturers have written to Joe Biden to clear the SEMA Act.

Bringing the solar supply chain to the US would take years since construction of manufacturing plants for polysilicon, ingot/wafer, wafer only, cell and modules varies over a longer period of time to come online, according to SEIA. Time taken for siting and permitting will be extra which, needless to say, would delay the path to decarbonization for the US.

However, investor’s interest in US solar manufacturing is growing. In Jan. 2022, Meyer Burger announced Arizona’s Goodyear city as the location to establish its cell/module production facility. By the end of 2022, the Germany based cell/module maker plans to have up to 400 MW HJT cell and module annual production capacity in the US, with potential to scale it up to 1.5 GW in the future.

“We’ve said that tariffs are not the right way to incentivize manufacturing, and that it is going to take time and policy commitment to move manufacturing into the United States at the scale that’s needed,” explained SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “The countries named in the petition have been reliable trading partners, and we need their products, in the near term at least, while we fight to establish a sustained and powerful manufacturing presence here in America.”

Preliminary results to the survey are available on SEIA’s website.

Source from Taiyang News

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