To date, all of the analysis of the potential impacts of the Section 201 case advanced by Suniva and SolarWorld have centered on a proposal that would impose prohibitive tariffs on imported cells and a steep minimum import price on modules, per Suniva’s initial proposal.
However, briefs by both companies in advance next Tuesday’s hearing indicate that both Suniva and SolarWorld, which joined its petition, are now asking for less severe remedies. Both companies are now asking for a $0.25 per watt tariff on imported cells in 2018, and a $0.32 per watt tariff on imported modules. These tariffs would decrease over the following three years.
However, here the two proposal diverge. Despite the history of no minimum import prices ever having been enacted under a Section 201 process, Suniva is still holding out for a minimum price on modules of $0.74 per watt in 2018 – four cents per watt less than its previous proposal, and still roughly double the current market price.
SolarWorld, meanwhile, is not asking for a minimum import price, but instead import quotas, with a quota of 220 MW of cells and 5700 MW of modules in 2018. This would be “liberalized” over the following three years.
According to a Suniva press release, both companies have made it clear that their idea of effective trade action includes both the tariffs on cells and modules and either quotas or a minimum import price.
Even if SolarWorld’s quotas are rejected, a partial survey of manufacturers in both the United States and nations where the ITC is not recommending trade action indicate that cells will be the bottleneck for tariff-free supply, given that Mission Solar Energy and Canadian Solar are dependent upon imported cells.
These proposals and the case for them will be discussed next Tuesday at the International Trade Commission, and pv magazine USA staff will be reporting from this event.
Update: This article was updated at 10:50 AM EST on Friday September 29 to clarify that SolarWorld and Suniva are looking for tariffs and either a quota or a minimum import price.