SEIA calls AD/CVD case ‘monumental loss’ for US as it slashes solar forecasts by 24GW and warns of 100,000 job losses

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The AD/CVD case relates to solar products coming from Southeast Asian countries that are suspected to have Chinese components. Image: Unsplash

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has slashed its US solar installation forecasts by 24GW over the next two years following the US government’s decision to investigate the circumvention of duties in Southeast Asia, claiming 100,000 solar jobs will be lost as a result.   

A SEIA survey of 700 US solar companies also revealed that 83% of module purchasers have had shipments either delayed or cancelled, while 70% of respondents said at least half of their solar workforce was at risk as the damaging impact of the case continues.

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SEIA said the Department of Commerce (DOC) decision to investigate alleged circumvention of antidumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD) by manufacturers in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam would see US solar installs drop by 46% to 24GW, which is more is more than the country installed in the whole of last year.  

According to SEIA, 318 projects with a cumulative capacity of 51GW of solar PV and 6GWh of battery energy storage are being cancelled or delayed, with roughly US$52 billion of private investment at risk.

“This case is destroying clean energy, and needlessly taking down American businesses and workers in its wake,” said SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “It’s unfathomable that the President would allow his own administration’s actions to be the downfall of his clean energy vision.”

Meanwhile, a SEIA survey of 700 US solar companies found that 83% of respondents that purchase or use modules have reported cancelled or delayed module supply, with as many as 13 states reporting 100% of modules delayed or cancelled. The case was expected to significantly curtail module supply to the US.

Moreover, 70% of survey respondents reported that at least half their solar and storage workforce is at risk and more than 200 companies report that their entire workforce is at risk. US solar developers had already branded the decision a “devastating blow” as they warned of tens of thousands of job losses.

“If tariffs are imposed, in the blink of an eye we’re going to lose 100,000 American solar workers and any hope of reaching the President’s clean energy goals,” said Hopper. “This would be a monumental loss for our nation, which has the potential to lead our clean energy future, with the right policies.”

“Instead, the Commerce Department is on track to wipe out nearly half of all solar jobs and force a surrender on the President’s climate goals.”

The investigation follows a petition from US-based module manufacturer Auxin Solar, filed last month, and comes just four months after a similar petition filed by an anonymous group of US solar manufacturers was dismissed by the DOC.

The DOC will now begin country-wide proceedings to determine whether or not solar cells and/or modules made in the Southeast Asian nations use parts originating from China, flouting AD/CVD tariffs.

The investigation itself could last up to a year, after which the DOC will conclude whether or not it has evidence of circumvention. Preliminary findings of the investigation are to be published on or before 30 August 2022, at which time a preliminary duty figure will also be announced.

The earliest a final decision could feasibly be announced is 26 January 2023, however this could still be extended until 1 April 2023.

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