US Proposes More Tariffs For Chinese Solar Power Modules

Port of San Diego/CC BY 2.0

It's been a long time in the works: The US Department of Commerce has announced preliminary tariffs on Chinese-made solar power modules of around 31% for companies that participated in their investigation and of 250% on companies that chose not to participate. What's more the tariffs are retroactive back to February 2012.

The anti-dumping tariffs are in response to a complaint filed months ago by US solar manufacturers, which TreeHugger has covered a number of times (see links to left).

Renewable Energy World expects that the tariffs will make Chinese solar panels $0.30 more expensive per watt.

Though these are not necessarily the final tariff rates (which could be adjusted up or down).

Analysis from The Brattle Group reported by Greentech Media shows that a 50% tariff would shut out most Chinese imports from the US market and caused 15,000-50,000 job losses.

As for possible Chinese response, outside of contesting the decision, GTM Research Senior Analyst Shyam Mehta says, "Chinese firms are hardly likely to stand still. They have two strategies: Set up cell manufacturing outside of China, or use the tolling services of Taiwan-based suppliers to turn wafers into cells there, and then assemble the modules in China. Both strategies allow the Chinese to bypass tariffs."

Should Chinese manufacturers chose the second option, Mehta expects Chinese costs to rise 6-12%.

For more detailed analysis, as well as reaction from industry, read: Greentech Media, Renewable Energy World, and Think Progress

Tags: China | Solar Power | United States