US solar module prices expected to normalise following AD/CVD petition verdict

The Techren solar project in Nevada. Image: Nextracker.

Prices for solar modules in the US are expected to normalise following last week’s rejection of a petition surrounding alleged circumvention of anti-dumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD).

However any stabilisation of prices is expected to take some time, with the “ripple effect” of the petition still affecting solar manufacturing.

PV Tech’s PV Price Watch feature, which tracks elements of pricing in the solar value chain weekly, documented the increasing prices for solar modules last week, reporting quotes in excess of US$0.31c/W for the US market. PV Price Watch is exclusive to PV Tech Premium subscribers, and readers can enjoy a 45% discount on an annual subscription until midnight tomorrow (18 November 2021) by using the code BLACKFRIDAY on checkout.

Speaking to PV Tech, George Hershman, CEO at leading US solar developer and O&M provider SOLV Energy, formerly known as Swinerton Renewable Energy, said the petition had proven to be a “significant headwind” for the sector and one which “froze the market” as soon as it was announced in August.

Hershman added that module availability for the US market retracted with manufacturers fearful of retroactive tariffs. Procurement contracts were left unsigned and the flow of solar modules to the US from Southeast Asia was significantly stemmed.

Last week’s decision from the Department of Commerce to reject the petition – although petitioners American Solar Manufacturers Against Chinese Circumvention (A-SMACC) have stressed they could yet re-file – has removed uncertainty and, Hershman said, normalised pricing.

“But I don’t think that’s going to happen tomorrow… It got to a point where module manufacturers were stopping production because they couldn’t ship product… [now] it’s a matter of getting that product out and starting those factories again. Unfortunately, there’s a ripple effect on this,” Hershman said.

The removal of the threat of new tariffs on imports from Southeast Asia has, however, allowed the solar industry to collaborate on other issues affecting module supply to the US, most notably the Withhold Release Order (WRO) on polysilicon products originating from Hoshine Silicon Industry and its subsidiaries.

Delays are, however, also routinely being caused because of issues at certain US ports, with First Solar reporting earlier this month that shipments from its factories in Asia were taking up to 90 days to make it to North America.

Nevertheless, confirmation that modules can now flow from Southeast Asia to the US is being celebrated by developers. “Right now we have projects that know they’re going to have a flow of modules. We still need to solve some of the port issues so that we can actually get deliveries on time, but at least we know they’re going on to a ship,” Hershman said.

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