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Trade case that could shake up US solar industry advances

By Clare Fieseler | 06/10/2024 06:40 AM EDT

A vote at the U.S. International Trade Commission moves the federal government closer to setting new solar tariffs.

First Solar plant.

Solar panels on the assembly line at a manufacturing plant in Walbridge, Ohio. Tony Dejak/AP

The U.S. International Trade Commission advanced a trade case Friday that could lead to higher solar tariffs and have major implications for the domestic renewable sector.

In a 4-0 vote, the commission made an initial determination that U.S. solar manufacturers are being harmed by cheap imports of solar cells and modules from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. More than 80 percent of U.S. solar panel imports in the last quarter of 2023 were traced to the four countries.

The vote clears the way for the Commerce Department to continue a probe into whether companies operating in the four nations are illegally dumping solar products.

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America’s seven largest solar manufacturers filed the petition with the ITC and Commerce in April. The group — known as the American Alliance for Solar Manufacturing Trade Committee — includes Convalt Energy, First Solar, Hanwha Qcells USA, Mission Solar Energy, Meyer Burger, REC Silicon and Swift Solar.

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