U.S. tariff holiday ends, sparking shift in solar panel market.

By Oliver Townsend Jun 6, 2024
U.S. Tariff Holiday on Southeast Asian Solar Panels Expires, Setting Stage for Industry Shift.jpegOrginal image from: https://www.greentechlead.com/solar/u-s-tariff-holiday-on-southeast-asian-solar-panels-expires-setting-stage-for-industry-shift-46782

As the U.S. tariff holiday on solar panels from Southeast Asia comes to an end, the solar industry is bracing for a significant shift. With American solar developers having accumulated around 35 gigawatts of imported panels during the tariff moratorium, the industry is now facing a deadline to deploy these panels by the end of the year to avoid new tariffs. This development is expected to trigger a surge in solar installations in the U.S., which is already experiencing rapid growth. However, it may pose challenges for the domestic manufacturing sector that is eager for developers to adopt American-made equipment.

The Impact of the Tariff Expiry

SEIA forecasts a doubling of solar installations in the U.S. to 10 million by 2030 and tripling to 15 million by 2034. The reinstatement of tariffs on Southeast Asian solar panels is pushing companies to urgently deploy their inventory, leading to a significant increase in solar project construction. Utility-scale installations have already jumped by 135 percent in the first quarter alone. Stacy Ettinger of SEIA highlighted that the tariff moratorium ensured a sufficient supply of solar modules to support the need for increased clean energy deployment.

Challenges and Opportunities for the Industry

While the urgency to use the accumulated panels has accelerated solar project construction, some U.S. solar manufacturers are seeking new tariffs on Southeast Asian imports, citing an inventory glut that has contributed to a price collapse in the market. The oversupply of panels marks a reversal for the U.S. solar sector, which faced severe supply constraints until last year due to the pandemic and concerns about forced labor in the solar supply chain. The tariffs aim to target imports by companies evading U.S. duties on Chinese goods by completing panel production in the four Southeast Asian nations.

The SEIA’s Stance

The SEIA has opposed the circumvention tariffs, arguing that they would elevate project costs and hinder the nation’s efforts to combat climate change. The White House has committed to enforcing the 180-day deadline to prevent further stockpiling and ensure the industry transitions smoothly. With solar installations on the rise and the industry navigating the implications of the tariff expiry, the future of solar energy in the U.S. hangs in the balance.

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