Who’s behind a solar tariff push? NextEra wants to know


NextEra Energy reportedly has asked the U.S. Commerce Department either to force an anonymous group of U.S. solar companies to identify its members or throw out their requests to extend tariffs on imported panels.

The Bloomberg news agency reported that in a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, NextEra challenged applications filed by the American Solar Manufacturers Against Chinese Circumvention.

NextEra wants the department either to toss out the applications or require the petitioners to re-file and name its members. NextEra questioned retribution claims and said that company names don’t meet the standard for proprietary treatment.

The unnamed companies asked the Commerce Department to impose antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on a handful of producers of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and modules that are imported from Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Unfair trade?

The group filed three petitions in mid-August through the law firm Wiley Rein requesting that Commerce investigate what it said are “unfairly traded imports” from the three countries.

The group said that circumvention of antidumping and duties on Chinese solar products has “hobbled the U.S. industry, eviscerated our supply chains, and put our clean energy future at risk.”

The Commerce Department has 45 days to initiate an investigation based on the petitions, said Timothy Brightbill, a partner in the Wiley Rein law firm. He spoke to pv magazine shortly after the petitions were filed. He said that a preliminary determination could be issued in 180 days with a final determination in around a year’s time. Any duties would be retroactive to the start of the investigation.

Brightbill said that “Given the Chinese control of the entire solar supply chain, retaliation is likely if their identities are revealed.” In such situations, the companies who make up the coalition “are allowed under U.S. law to remain confidential,” he said.


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