Suniva Trade Case

Gdizzle

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I thought this topic might spur some interesting discussion, particularly because it hasn't yet made it into the realm of political talking points. I would be interested to hear the various perspectives.

Quick facts: http://www.seia.org/sites/default/files/Suniva-Trade-Case-Factsheet_SEIA_June-2017_0.pdf

Basically: The solar manufacturing industry in the U.S. is sinking. Companies are struggling to remain cost-competitive with the explosion of foreign production capacity.
Suniva, an American solar panel manufacturer, filed for bankrupty in April this year. Following the filing they submitted a petition to the U.S. International Trade Commission to enact a "safeguard" on the U.S. industry. This safeguard is in the form of an import tax, and a price floor. The petition has been accepted by the ITC and is currently under investigation with a first phase decision due by 9/22.

Virtually, the entire solar industry (myself included) is railing against this petition. The cost of solar in the U.S. would effectively double. This would save a few manufacturing jobs at the expense of the 260,000 people employed in the solar industry. Just the initiation of this investigation alone has caused waves. I am involved in the design of a few large utility-scale projects (~200MW each) that have been placed on hold mid-design due to the uncertainty in the supply chain.

How important to you is "Made in America?" Do you think this is something the current administration would support? Is this something you would support?
 

howeda7

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I thought this topic might spur some interesting discussion, particularly because it hasn't yet made it into the realm of political talking points. I would be interested to hear the various perspectives.

Quick facts: http://www.seia.org/sites/default/files/Suniva-Trade-Case-Factsheet_SEIA_June-2017_0.pdf

Basically: The solar manufacturing industry in the U.S. is sinking. Companies are struggling to remain cost-competitive with the explosion of foreign production capacity.
Suniva, an American solar panel manufacturer, filed for bankrupty in April this year. Following the filing they submitted a petition to the U.S. International Trade Commission to enact a "safeguard" on the U.S. industry. This safeguard is in the form of an import tax, and a price floor. The petition has been accepted by the ITC and is currently under investigation with a first phase decision due by 9/22.

Virtually, the entire solar industry (myself included) is railing against this petition. The cost of solar in the U.S. would effectively double. This would save a few manufacturing jobs at the expense of the 260,000 people employed in the solar industry. Just the initiation of this investigation alone has caused waves. I am involved in the design of a few large utility-scale projects (~200MW each) that have been placed on hold mid-design due to the uncertainty in the supply chain.

How important to you is "Made in America?" Do you think this is something the current administration would support? Is this something you would support?
This is an awful idea. It fits with something Trump would support, given he's pushing tariffs on Mexico, etc. but it's not an industry he likes so who knows.
 

Gdizzle

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One more day to state your thoughts before your opinion is prescribed by the white house.

The impetus is of course shady: https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidb...-trumps-energy-dominance-agenda/#24e8dc6c2fc4

"In May of this year, Suniva’s main creditor – a venture capital firm based in the United Kingdom, SQN Capital – sent what was described by PV Magazine as “an extortion letter” to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, suggesting they acquire Suniva’s equipment in return for the withdrawal of the trade petition. While SQN was asking for what amounted to a $55 million payoff to make the case disappear, it also indicated that their primary interest was in recouping their failed investment and not in reviving what would be Suniva’s equipment-less facilities."

That said there were rumors at the big solar conference last week that manufacturer's are planning US plants should the case proceed: https://www.greentechmedia.com/arti...eigh-opening-us-facilities-trade-tariff-looms

If it passes, I would expect an immediate drop in solar installations for about 2 years followed by a slow climb once US plants are operational. Although most of the big developers/contractors have stockpiled panels in anticipation, this might only sustain them for a couple projects. My stance is unchanged. This trade tariff will cause irreparable harm to the solar industry, and is simply a hail mary from a failed chinese company to recoup losses.

We shall find out soon.
 

Section2

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All trade restrictions, tariffs, price controls, etc are harmful. It's not usually quite so obvious as in this case.
 

diehard

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What is obvious in this case is that solar is not yet a competitive energy source.
 

Section2

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What is obvious in this case is that solar is not yet a competitive energy source.
Also obvious to me that a contributing factor to this fact is government intervention in solar.
 

diehard

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No doubt the government crutch has slowed its development.
 

GoodasGold

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What is obvious in this case is that solar is not yet a competitive energy source.
True and correct. For now, at least, coal-fired solar power is the viable solution. Clean coal, that is!
 

howeda7

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True and correct. For now, at least, coal-fired solar power is the viable solution. Clean coal, that is!
I hear that Nambia is going to open up a beautiful, new clean coal plant where they will take the coal out of the ground and clean it. Trump's tremendous speech on clean coal and praise for their great country has inspired them. Not only has Trump made America Great Again but also Nambia, which has never been greater.
 

diehard

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Perhaps we can make Nambia our 58th state when their clean coal plant is finished.
 

Gdizzle

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What is obvious in this case is that solar is not yet a competitive energy source.
I think that is fair, although trending in the right direction. The scheduled reduction in the ITC should be left untouched, and not extended. The industry has had enough hand-holding and will adapt.
 

diehard

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Who is forcings them to buy? (tossing a bone to cnc there. nibble away.)
 

Gdizzle

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Trump put it through at 30% with gradual degradation to 15% in 4 years and an annual exception of 2.5GW. I think it will certainly slow the solar industry, but will not cause irreversible damage. I also do not think it will cause domestic production to grow, as is intended. The measures do not have a clear/focused target. In all likelihood the WTO will strike it down in 2 years anyway.

https://www.greentechmedia.com/arti...ump-admin-issues-a-30-solar-tariff#gs.YRhur6w
 
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