SEMA Coalition urges US action on Chinese solar imports – Renewables Now

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The Solar Energy Manufacturers for America (SEMA) Coalition has this week called on the White House and Treasury to act immediately to address below-cost imports of solar modules, which, it said, are being stockpiled far beyond the level of demand.

The SEMA Coalition simultaneously calls for a critical update of the guidance for the domestic content bonus credit created by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). According to it, the bonus allows a predominantly Chinese-made solar panel to count as “US-made” with only minimal processing and assembly in the US.

The statement was issued on the occasion of US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s visit to China and says she is returning “without enforceable commitments from China’s government on excess solar capacity.”

“We’re heartened that Secretary Yellen acknowledged the unlevel playing field from which Chinese-headquartered solar manufacturers are currently benefiting and the fragility inherent in the US’s dependence on China for solar, but it’s time to act,” said Mike Carr, executive director of the SEMA Coalition.

“Beyond enforcing trade laws, we are encouraging the WH and Treasury to support the growth of a sustainable solar manufacturing supply chain by including US-produced solar grade polysilicon and solar wafer as components — about half of the value of a solar module — in the Domestic Content Bonus calculation,” Mike Carr continued.

The SEMA Coalition in March released a report, commissioned by it and authored by Guidehouse Insights on the state of US solar manufacturing.

On Monday, Yellen told CNBC that any measures, including tariffs, on Chinese green energy exports would not be ruled out and should remain on the table.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), meanwhile, issued a statement last week on potential trade measures.

SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said: “American solar manufacturers have been rightly sounding the alarm bell about deteriorating market conditions for months now and the need to take corrective actions.

“While we won’t take a formal position on any filings until we work through the details of the petition and its impact on the industry, we need to support American solar manufacturers before it’s too late.”

Concerns over Chinese supplies were also raised yesterday in a speech by European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager.

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