U.S. House repeals Biden's import tariff pause; Enel points to Oklahoma for solar factory 

The solar news you need to know.

President Biden suspended import tariffs last year to support solar deployment while domestic manufacturing is scaled up. (Image: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Related Articles

U.S. House repeals pause of tariffs on imports from Southeast Asia

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on April 28 to repeal President Biden's temporary suspension of import tariffs on solar panels from the four largest supply countries in Southeast Asia, in a bipartisan action which the President said he would veto. 

The repeal by lawmakers aims to protect U.S. solar manufacturers from lower cost products made in Asia. Last June, President Biden waived tariffs on solar panels from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam for two years, to support solar deployment while U.S. manufacturing is ramped up.

U.S. solar installations must more than triple to 60 GW/year within the next few years to meet President Biden's climate goals and tax credits in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act have spurred a flurry of U.S. factory pledges. The U.S. had around 8 GW of module manufacturing capacity in 2022 and solar companies have announced plans for 47 GW of new U.S. module manufacturing capacity over the last year, the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) said on March 30.

Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam supply most of the modules installed in the U.S and last year the U.S. Commerce Department found in a preliminary ruling that some Chinese companies had been trying to dodge U.S. import tariffs by finishing products in the four Southeast Asian countries. The investigation followed a complaint by U.S. manufacturer Auxin Solar and the Commerce Department has delayed its final decision until August.

                     Solar manufacturing capacity by country, region

                                                               (Click image to enlarge)

Source: International Energy Agency's Report on Solar PV Global Supply Chains, August 2022

A repeal of the tariff pause would stunt the expected growth in U.S. solar installations that is fuelling domestic manufacturing plans, SEIA said in a statement on April 28.

“Today the House of Representatives failed America’s 255,000 solar workers and put the near-term impact of the Inflation Reduction Act at risk," SEIA said.

The legislation would impose "$1 billion in retroactive tariffs" and "cause 30,000 Americans to lose their jobs this year," the association said.

The bill must be agreed by the Democrat-controlled Senate before it is sent to the President.

Enel eyes Oklahoma for first US solar factory

Italian renewable energy developer Enel has identified Oklahoma as the leading candidate to host its first U.S. solar module factory.

The U.S. is a key growth market for Enel and the company plans to build a factory similar to a 3 GW plant it is building in Sicily, Italy. The group operates around 8 GW of renewable energy capacity in North America and plans to install a further 6 GW by the end of 2024.

Solar companies have announced plans for 47 GW of new U.S. module manufacturing capacity over the last year on the back of new tax credits in President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act and other government policies, the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) said in a statement on March 30.

Until now, most U.S. solar projects have sourced panels from Asia, but developers are increasingly looking to reduce supply risks posed by volatile global markets and import tariff policies.

Invenergy, the largest independent renewable energy developer in the U.S., plans to build the country's largest solar panel factory and last year a consortium of developers pledged to spend over $6 billion on U.S. modules from 2024.

Reuters Events