Trump’s solar tariffs will extend to bifacial panels

Source: By Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner • Posted: Sunday, April 19, 2020

The U.S. Trade Representative is withdrawing a prior exclusion for bifacial solar panels, saying in a Federal Register notice Friday the exclusion is “undermining the objectives of the safeguard measure.”

The Trump administration issued the section 201 tariffs on imported solar panels and modules in 2018. They started at 30%, with a decrease of 5% each year through 2021. The solar industry had sought, and won, an exclusion for bifacial panels. But the U.S. Trade Representative now says that exclusion “disincentivizes” U.S. production and hampers domestic manufacturers’ ability to increase sales to utilities, the fastest growing buyers of solar panels in the U.S.

What the industry has to say: Solar developers had initially sought the exclusion because there “will be for the foreseeable future, an acute shortage of domestic panels used in utility-scale solar projects,” said John Smirnow, vice president of market strategy and general counsel for the Solar Energy Industries Association, in a statement. Removing the exclusion “will needlessly increase the financial burden on America’s energy consumers,” he added.