US customs detained 2GW of PV modules in 2022 under UFLPA

The US has been blocking the import of some solar imports from China since the UFLPA come into effect last June. Image: Port of Los Angeles.

2GW worth of solar PV modules were detained at the US border throughout 2022 as a result of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), representing 1,423 individual shipments.

The US Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) released its 2022 detainment statistics relating to the UFLPA, which were analysed by Bernreuter Research. The shipments were listed as being from the ‘electronics industry’, as the CBP doesn’t give granular data on the shipments or products that it detains. Whilst the majority of ‘electronics’ affected by the UFLA are undoubtedly solar panels, the CBP warns that some other products may be included in the statistics.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

US$709.9 million worth of shipments were detained last year, which Bernreuter said corresponds to 2.09GW of modules based on a price-per-watt calculation from NREL which saw imported modules fluctuate between US$0.3 and US$0.6 per watt through 2022. Beyond that, in the first two months of 2023 a further 204 shipments were detained, representing 410MW and US$134 million.

41% of the detained shipments have ultimately been released, whilst 58.2% are still pending action by either the CBP or the importer and just 0.8% of total detained shipments have been rejected. The trend for detainments is declining, Bernreuter said, from around 1300MW in Q3 2022 to around 700MW in Q4.

The UFLPA was established in response to alleged forced labour in the production of goods – including solar module components – in Xinjiang province. It requires that solar modules imported to the US from China or Chinese companies can prove with ‘clear and convincing evidence’ that forced labour played no part in their production, otherwise they are prohibited from entering the country. This has resulted in large Chinese manufacturers changing their supply chains and production locations to exclude Xinjiang.

The CBP website includes a database breakdown of the industries that have seen detainments. In Q4 2022, ‘Electronics’ (read: “solar modules”) saw US$449 million worth of detainments, whilst the entirety of detained shipments across all the affected industries was just US$464 million in the same period.

Analysis from Wood Mackenzie last September predicted that the UFLPA was set to hamper US solar deployments throughout this year. Indeed, alongside the uncertainty surrounding the anti-dumping/countervailing duty (ad/cvd) tariff investigations the UFLPA has led to shortages of module supply over the last year or two, and subsequently caused delays to the bolstering effect that the landmark Inflation Reduction Act was set to have on the PV industry.

These detainments are likely to ease over time as a domestic manufacturing buildout gathers pace and overseas importers make pains to secure their supply chains to take advantage of the significant growth that the US solar market is set to undergo.

27 June 2024
9am BST
FREE WEBINAR -This special webinar will take a deep dive into the latest PV ModuleTech Bankability Ratings pyramid, capturing the relative bankability status of the top 70-80 PV module suppliers globally. In addition to revealing the latest ranking of global PV module suppliers, PV Tech’s Head of Research, Finlay Colville, will show the depth of analysis and commentary included within the report for module suppliers. A key output from the webinar will be to learn which PV module suppliers have moved up the rankings pyramid in recent years and why this growth has been achieved. Conversely, some of the companies that have fallen down the rankings will be discussed, in particular those suffering from market-share losses and financial problems.
8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
26 November 2024
Málaga, Spain
Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.
11 March 2025
Frankfurt, Germany
The conference will gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing out to 2030 and beyond.
17 June 2025
Napa, USA
PV Tech has been running PV ModuleTech Conferences since 2017. PV ModuleTech USA, on 17-18 June 2025, will be our fourth PV ModulelTech conference dedicated to the U.S. utility scale solar sector. The event will gather the key stakeholders from solar developers, solar asset owners and investors, PV manufacturing, policy-making and and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out the PV module supply channels to the U.S. out to 2026 and beyond.

Read Next

June 13, 2024
Spanish tracker manufacturer Soltec has launched a new floating tracker designed for inland water bodies such as reservoirs and ponds.
June 13, 2024
US solar technology company Swift Solar has secured US$27 million to develop its perovskite tandem solar cell manufacturing.
June 13, 2024
PV Tech's coverage of the SNEC PV Power expo 2024. We are reporting live from the exhibition floor at the world's biggest PV trade show.
June 13, 2024
Kiwa Group on why the integration of three PV inspection and QA businesses signposts the way forward for solar reliability testing.
June 13, 2024
IFM Investors and QIC have signed Australia's largest multi-state PPA worth AU$700 million for 500GWh of renewable energy per annum.
June 12, 2024
Burns & McDonnell has started construction on Consumers Energy’s 297MWdc/250MWac solar project in the US state of Michigan.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
July 2, 2024
Athens, Greece
Solar Media Events
July 9, 2024
Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia