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Why we should all care about the Suniva's Section 201 Petition

The United States International Trade Commission is investigation a tariff increase that if passed, will have grave consequences for the future of the solar industry in the United States.

The case involves Suniva, a manufacturer of crystalline silicon photo-voltaic (PV) cells, commonly known as CSPV cells. These cells are used in manufacturing solar panels. CSPV cells convert the sun’s rays into energy. Suniva filed for bankruptcy in April stating that they could not compete with the lower prices PV manufacturers from China offered. Several days later, the company filed trade complaints against Chinese competitors asking for “global safeguard relief” from CSPV cells and modules. CSPV manufacturer SolarWorld has also joined in the request.

The solar industry has been around for years, but just recently gained popularity among homeowners and businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint, and save on electric costs.  One reason for the massive increase in businesses and homeowners switching to solar is the decrease in prices for solar installations, which comes from an abundance of low cost manufacturing companies.  Solar installation companies are paying less for the materials needed, and they are passing the savings on to the customer. If the tariff increase proposal is approved, the exact opposite will happen. Industry experts say the price of solar would increase upwards of 66%, setting the solar industry back decades.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) the petition could "damage to the 9,000 companies and 258,000 jobs in parts of the solar industry other than CSPV cell manufacturers. The solar industry employs thousands of people in the US from installers, to supply and logitistics.

The final decision on whether an increase is given, and if so the amount and length of time is made by the President. The USITC states “ In determining what action to take, if any, the President is to take into account the Commission’s report, industry efforts to make a positive adjustment to import competition, factors related to the national economic interest of the United States, and certain other statutory factors.

The USITC has scheduled 2 hearings in August.

More information on this case can be found at

https://www.usitc.gov/press_room/news_release/201_factsheet_finalasposted.pdf

http://www.seia.org/blog/seia-responds-sunivas-section-201-filing

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