US modules prices will still be lower by end of 2018 than 2017, says ReneSola chief


Module costs for US firms in 2018 will still be lower than 2017 prices, despite the impending 30% import tariffs, according to the CEO of Chinese manufacturer turned project developer ReneSola.

Li Xianshou said the announcement of the rates relieved the “tense atmosphere” in the industry and that the 5% annual decline should allow project investment to continue.

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

“The tax level is reasonable and acceptable for the US market. Due to the technical improvements from Chinese manufacturers, the cost of solar modules will continue to drop; even with a 30% tariff, the price could still fall back to 40 cents [per Watt] in 2018, significantly lower than that in 2017! And would be further lowered in 2019,” he claimed.

“ReneSola has transformed to a downstream power plant developer and operator, and we will continue to develop community solar plants and distributed power plants in the United States, and the company will benefit from the continuous decline in module prices,” he added.

The 30% tariffs on cells and modules will exempt the first 2.5GW of cell imports. The addition of First Solar’s thin-film capacity, existing US cell capacity plus the gigawatts of modules imported into the US and stockpiled prior to the tariffs, will all reduce the impact of the 30% rate.

Integrated PV manufacturer GCL said it, and many of its peers, would be minimally affected.

LV Jinbiao, VP of GCL-Poly said: “Some Chinese enterprises are prepared and moved up their deliveries to the United States six months earlier, therefore the impact is minimized. The wafer business in GCL Poly is not affected, and GCL Silicon has deployed strategies through overseas capacity cooperation, therefore the 201 case is not ‘uncrackable’,” he said, adding that US power plant developers would be the ones to feel the pressure in 2018.

Source: Flickr/Luke Price.


One objective of the tariffs is to promote the creation of jobs in US manufacturing.

“The tariff is lower than expected, and is within the acceptable range for us,” said Hu Wanshu, marketing manager of EPC and manufacturer Chint Solar. “It’s much better than setting up factories in the United States. The US market is growing rapidly and cannot be abandoned for tariffs reasons.”

Guan Ronghua, sales director of the PV manufacturing equipment supplier Suzhou Horad Group said local US firms would only benefit in the short term.

“In the long run, it certainly will weaken the international competitiveness of US PV enterprises. Meanwhile, it is suggested that the relevant Chinese Photovoltaic Association could launch a counterclaim to the WTO to maintain the healthy development of global free trade.”

South Korea’s trade minister has already indicated that the country will make a complaint to the WTO.

China government response

China’s ministry of commerce called the decision “an abuse of trade remedy measures” and “strongly” expressed its dissatisfaction.

Zhang Sen, general secretary of the solar PV branch in China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME) turned its attention to a new round of negotiations.

“Firstly, we strongly oppose these trade protection measurements; the 201 case is affecting upstream and downstream companies greatly, both globally and in US market. We hope to keep a close communication channel with US government and industry in the follow-up talks and negotiations, to strive to defuse this dispute,” he said.

21 August 2024
5pm BST
FREE WEBINAR -This webinar will feature the perspectives and views of PV Tech’s Head of Research, Dr. Finlay Colville, on how the U.S. PV manufacturing landscape is changing today and when we might expect additions to encompass cells and wafers. This will be followed by a PV Tech special – a look inside one of the first new PV module fabs built in the U.S. this year; SEG Solar’s new site in Texas. Join Jim Wood, CEO at SEG Solar, as he walks around the new factory showing key features and explaining the rational for SEG Solar in making this investment into U.S. PV manufacturing in 2024.
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.
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

July 19, 2024
US solar manufacturer First Solar has started an investigation into several crystalline-silicon cell solar manufacturers for potential infringement of its patents.
July 19, 2024
Investment fund Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners and its subsidiary Primergy Solar have reached commercial operations at their 690MWac/966MWdc Gemini solar-plus-storage project in Nevada.
July 19, 2024
The Energy Storage for Resilient Homes Act would allow residents of the two states to use funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to purchase residential BESS.
July 19, 2024
SunPower said the decision was not made "lightly" and will consider options to support its mutual customers and collective business pipeline.
July 19, 2024
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a loan of up to US$861.3 million to support 200MW of solar PV and 285MW/1,140MWh of battery energy storage system (BESS) projects in Puerto Rico.
July 19, 2024
The corporate world is taking an increased interest in community solar, which can take multiple forms, from tax equity to offtake.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
July 31, 2024
1:00 PM (BST) / 2:00PM (CEST)
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia
Solar Media Events
October 8, 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA