It still isn't certain that the solar industry will be hit with a round of tariffs. But after a landmark decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) last Friday, it is far more likely, and the winners and losers are coming into focus.
In a unanimous decision, the four commissioners of the ITC voted that a struggling set of manufacturers have suffered "serious injury" from Asian competitors that barraged America with inexpensive product. Next, on Oct. 3, the commission will hold a hearing on what penalty to place on importers.
But the ITC's recommendations, while influential, are just recommendations; the issue then goes in November to President Trump, who could take any trade measure. He has told aides to "bring me some tariffs," and on Friday hinted that solar manufacturers deserve protection (Greenwire, Sept. 22).
The ruling was a resounding victory for Suniva Inc. and SolarWorld Americas, two bankrupt U.S. makers of solar cells and modules that asked the ITC for protection. They are some of the few remaining U.S. makers of crystalline solar photovoltaic (CSPV) cells and modules, which were invented here and are the building blocks of most solar panels in use today.
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