Global competition among solar manufacturers has pushed solar prices to record lows, but it may not stay that way for long – at least, not in the U.S.
As reported by Greentech Media, American solar module manufacturer Suniva declared bankruptcy this April, blaming China and other Asian manufacturers for “flooding the U.S. market” with solar modules at a price it couldn’t beat, as low as 35 cents per watt.
Not only that, but these foreign modules are ranked higher in quality than Suniva’s product. According to the IHS, SEIA, and Renewable Energy World’s 2016 rankings, the 8 of the top 10 highest-quality solar manufacturers are based in Asia, while Suniva didn’t make the cut.
In a final attempt to save its operations, Suniva has requested that President Trump introduce a steep tariff on all solar modules imported into the U.S. The company filed a petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission asking for asking for tariffs of 40 cents per watt and a floor price of 78 cents per watt – more than doubling the current price of modules.
If the administration approves this solar tariff, the U.S. would become the highest-priced solar country in the world.
How likely is it to be approved? According to John Gurley, a trade lawyer and partner at Arent Fox LLP, the odds are over 50%. Suniva filed a petition under Section 201 of the 1974 Trade Act, which allows the president to implement tariffs, minimum prices, or quotas on foreign products as long as it’s proven that they cause “serious injury” to a domestic producer.
Trump’s camp specifically cited Section 201 on the campaign trail, promoting it as a tool that could give American companies a leg up over foreign competitors. But for Americans looking to go solar, this would mean bad news for solar system prices.
“You’re going to double your PPA prices,” stated former President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Rhone Resch.
For those considering going solar, it may be now or never. The International Trade Commission is scheduled to review Suniva’s petition in mid-July, and if it agrees with their stance, it will recommend action by September. The president could then issue his final approval by October or November.
While some Americans have held off on going solar, gambling that solar prices will continue to drop, this news suggests that a dangerous reversal is on the horizon.
If you’re considering going solar in the next five years, now is the time to lock in a record-low solar price, thanks to global competition. Within a few months, prices are likely to skyrocket.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation solar analysis to see how much you can save by switching to solar.