Yesterday’s hearing before the International Trade Commission (ITC) spent a lot of time on the expected impacts of actions that the Trump Administration could take if the agency finds injury to the domestic industry, with both sides disagreeing sharply on the expected outcome and the need for such a case in the first place.
However, within this testimony there was also an analysis of what is happening now. In her testimony against the Section 201 petition, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Head of North America Research Amy Grace stated that new contracting activity for utility-scale solar projects has “ground to a halt” since the ITC launched its investigation in June.
“Developers cannot reasonably guarantee competitive contract terms with their counterparties when they don’t know how much they will have to pay for modules – the most expensive line-item of a project’s cost,” noted Grace.
This is not the first that pv magazine has heard of effects from the case on the U.S. market. As reported by pv magazine, at the Intersolar North America trade show last month there was a great deal of talk of uncertainty, module shortages and a surge in prices.
Since that time all three of the largest U.S. residential solar companies as well as many developers have stated that they have stocked up on modules at least through the end of 2017. This includes North Carolina’s Strata Solar. “Modules are harder to get, the price is higher, and all of that seems to be based on the fear that some sort of tariff could be put in place,” Strata Solar Senior VP of Strategy and Government Affairs Brian O’Hara told pv magazine.
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