Bye-Bye, Bifacial

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The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative last week announced that it is eliminating the exclusion of bifacial solar panels from the 25% tariff on imported solar products, closing a perceived loophole that gave foreign manufacturers a duty-free avenue for placing their PV modules in the U.S. market.

The move is an about-face for the U.S. Trade Representative, which approved the exclusion back in June.

“After evaluating newly available information from these and other sources demonstrating that global production of bifacial solar panels is increasing, that the exclusion will likely result in significant increases in imports of bifacial solar panels, and that such panels likely will compete with domestically produced monofacial and bifacial CSPV products in the U.S. market, the U.S. Trade Representative has determined, after consultation with the Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, that maintaining the exclusion will undermine the objectives of the safeguard measure,” the agency said in its brief.

U.S.-based manufacturers – notably, First Solar and SunPower – stand to benefit from the decision, while solar companies building bi-facial modules elsewhere around the globe, such as Jinko Solar and Canadian Solar, will have a distinct disadvantage.

PHOTO: Silfab Solar bi-facial modules

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