US to Consider Tariff on Bifacial Solar Panels Following Hanwha’s Petition – BusinessKorea

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Hanwha Q CELLS factory in Dalton, Georgia, in the U.S.

The Biden administration is likely to grant Hanwha Q CELLS’ request to impose tariffs on bifacial solar panels imported into the United States, according to sources cited by Reuters on April 17. On Feb. 23, Hanwha Q CELLS formally petitioned the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to revoke the tariff exemption for bifacial solar panels, which the sources believe will likely be accepted. However, the U.S. government has not yet decided when to eliminate the tariff exemption.

In its petition, Hanwha Q CELLS argued that the continuation of major investments in the U.S., initiated thanks to subsidies provided by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), necessitates such measures. “The surge in imports of bifacial modules has created market conditions that are causing some companies to reconsider their investment plans in the U.S.,” Hanwha Q CELLS stated.

Bifacial solar panels are capable of generating power from both sides. While the U.S. currently imposes a 14.25% tariff on imported solar panels, bifacial panels have been an exception, frequently used in large-scale power projects.

Reuters reported that Hanwha Q CELLS’ request aims to maintain its expansion of a US$2.5 billion investment in the U.S. to compete against cheaper Chinese products. Hanwha Q CELLS is pushing forward with a project named Solar Hub, a solar integrated value chain in Georgia, with an investment of US$2.5 billion.

The petition has received support from seven solar manufacturers with factories in the U.S., including First Solar and Suniva. Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia have also advocated for ending the tariff exemption for bifacial solar panels.

Previously, the U.S. government had exempted certain products, including bifacial modules, from safeguard measures in June 2019 due to insufficient domestic production capacity.

Although the Trump administration briefly canceled these exemption measures through a presidential proclamation in October 2020, they were restored by the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) in November 2021. President Biden also extended the safeguard measures by four years in February 2022, maintaining the tariff exemption for bifacial modules. Currently, 98% of the modules imported into the U.S. are bifacial.

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