‘Fatal flaw’: Suniva demands GTM retract ‘inaccurate report’


Suniva, the bankrupt module manufacturer who is the lead petitioner in a trade complaint in response to what it sees as unfair international competition, has demanded GTM Research retract and amend parts of its reports – released on Monday – that suggested the U.S. market could contract as much as 66% if the trade complaint is brought to a successful conclusion.

According to Suniva, the central assumption on which GTM’s analysis of the complaint is based – that Suniva and its co-petitioner SolarWorld want a $1.18/watt floor price for modules – is wrong. Instead, the floor price listed in the complaint itself of $0.78/watt is the proper number.

An email from GTM’s Mike Munsell, manager of research marketing, clearly outlined that the report added a $0.40/watt tariff to the $0.78/watt floor price to reach its $1.18 number (emphasis added).

“In our latest report we found that between 2018 and 2022, total U.S. solar installations would fall from 72.5 gigawatts cumulatively to just 36.4 gigawatts under a $0.78 per watt minimum module price scenario,” Munsell’s email read.”Even more dramatic, with a $1.18 per watt minimum price, representing a $0.40 per watt cell tariff on top of a $0.78 per watt minimum module price, cumulative installations would plummet to 25 gigawatts,”

Suniva counters the $0.78/watt price includes the tariff.

“GTM negligently published this assertion without ever contacting the co-petitioners of the trade petition or their counsel,” Suniva said in announcing its demand. “Had GTM followed standard norms of journalistic procedure and asked for comment from the co-petitioners, they would have happily assisted GTM, and GTM could have prevented the foreseeable harm caused to the co-petitioners.”

“This is why Suniva has called upon GTM to retract their report while there still may be time to minimize the harm caused to the co-petitioners,” the complaint continued. “Suniva does not understand why GTM would publish faulty assertions without contacting the co-petitioners.”

GTM’s MJ Shiao, head of Americas research and one of the authors of the report, says GTM stands by its research and will not be retracting the report. The company will be issuing a clarification, however, now that Suniva has clarified that the $0.78/watt floor price includes the tariff.

“In the course of our research, we talked to trade lawyers who are working on the 201 petition,” Shiao said. “They expressed to us that the wording of the complaint was ambiguous and could be interpreted both ways. That’s why we modeled it both ways in our report.”

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