To the relief of solar developers, the U.S. Court of International Trade (USCIT) has temporarily blocked the Trump administration from scrapping the tariff exemption for imported bifacial modules.
In an order issued on December 5, the USCIT agreed with the Solar Energy Industries Association and renewable energy developer Invenergy that the U.S. Trade Representative’s withdrawal of its exemption for bifacial modules is unlawful.
According to the order, the withdrawal was against the law for it was issued with only 19 days’ notice to the public, “without an opportunity for affected and/or interested parties to comment, and without a developed public record on which to base its decision,” in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.
After the U.S. solar industry weathered two months of confusion, bifacial module tariff policies have returned to where they were this summer: bifacial module imports are granted an exemption to Section 201 tariffs.
The decision is a welcome relief to U.S. solar developers, who have been seeking high-efficiency module suppliers under an unfriendly arrangement of tariffs. The initial filing submitted by Invenergy stated that it had signed contracts based on the bifacial exemption and was shocked when the exemption was abruptly removed months later.
As Xiaojing Sun, a senior solar analyst at WoodMac, noted in October, bifacial projects in the U.S. will “lose cost competitiveness” unless a tariff exemption is in place.
It has been reported that Hanwha Q Cells and First Solar were among the module makers urging the U.S. Trade Representative to revoke the bifacial exemption from Section 201 tariffs.
According to Wood Mackenzie Power＆Renewables, bifacial installation will grow tenfold worldwide between 2019 and 2024, and cause a major shock to the U.S. solar market. Moreover, it’s estimated that the U.S. will gain 2 MW of electricity generated from bifacial modules in 2020, predicted WoodMac. Hanwha Q Cells and First Solar both expect their monofacial modules to be used in the U.S. utility market.
For now, any imported bifacial modules, regardless of their brand, is exempt from tariffs—certainly a good news for companies with bifacial lines, including Trina, Longi, RaySolar, Jinko, JA Solar, Jolywood, Solarfun, GCL Silicon, and Yingli.
Following a public hearing held on December 5, the Section 201 tariffs will undergo a mid-term review in the coming February, according to some sources.
Source: PV Men
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