On July 14, 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) issued a request for a range of additional factual information in connection with the agency’s ongoing circumvention inquiries into solar cells and modules from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam that employ inputs from mainland China. The deadline to respond is July 21st.Continue Reading Commerce Requests Factual Information in Solar Circumvention Inquiries on Level of Investment, Non-Financial Barriers, and Research and Development Expenses
On July 1, 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) issued proposed rules implementing President Biden’s emergency declaration to provide temporary tariff relief on certain imports of solar cells and modules from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Commerce has provided the public with a 30-day period to comment on the proposed rules.
If enacted in their current form, the proposed rules would provide meaningful relief and increased tariff certainty to U.S. importers of solar cells and modules from these four Southeast Asian countries. Specifically, under the proposed rules, Commerce will not impose tariffs during the emergency period established by President Biden on imports of solar cells and modules from those countries even if the products are found to be circumventing an existing antidumping (“AD”) or countervailing duty (“CVD”) order. The proposed rules do not affect tariffs on imports that are already within the scope of existing AD/CVD orders on solar cells and modules from mainland China or Taiwan, including in-scope modules that incorporate cells from mainland China or Taiwan but are assembled in a different country.
While the proposed rules would represent a positive development for foreign manufacturers, U.S. importers, and U.S. consumers, including the U.S. solar project development industry, if promulgated in their current form, changes to the rules are possible. It is therefore important for parties with a stake in Commerce’s pending circumvention inquiries to file comments by the August 1, 2022 deadline. Continue Reading Commerce Invites Comments on Proposed Rules Implementing Presidential Emergency Declaration on Solar Tariffs
Presidential Action Triggered by Crisis in the U.S. Solar Industry
In recent months, the U.S. solar industry has been in the midst of an existential crisis, triggered by the threatened imposition of retroactive and future tariffs on a significant portion of U.S. imports. That crisis began on April 1, 2022, when the Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) initiated an inquiry to determine whether solar cells and modules from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam are circumventing antidumping (“AD”) and countervailing duty (“CVD”) orders on solar cells from China. Solar cells from these countries generally accounted for approximately 80% of U.S. solar module imports in 2020. If Commerce finds circumvention, solar cells and modules from the four target countries could not only be subject to combined AD/CVD tariffs approaching 250%, but Commerce’s regulations also allow for the agency to apply these tariffs retroactively to merchandise entering on or after April 1, 2022 (and potentially as far back as November 4, 2021). This threat of AD/CVD tariffs triggered a steep decrease in imports of solar cells and modules from Southeast Asia, and caused parts of the U.S. solar industry to come to a stand-still, furthering domestic reliance on coal. Given this paralysis in the solar industry, lawmakers and others urged the President to provide relief from potential AD/CVD tariffs.Continue Reading President Acts to Prevent Import Tariffs on Solar Cells and Modules from Southeast Asia
The European Commission seeks stakeholders’ feedback until 18 November on its proposal to define cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy generation that would be eligible to receive EU funding under Connecting European Facility instrument.
Continue Reading European Commission Opens Public Consultation to Define Selection Criteria for Renewable Energy Projects Eligible of EU Funding
On March 12, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) affirmed the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (“Commerce”) determination that solar panels assembled in China from non-Chinese cells were subject to antidumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD). See Canadian Solar, Inc. v. United States. In doing so, the Federal Circuit found that Commerce had discretion to depart from its long-standing practice of using a substantial transformation test to determine country of origin and instead the agency may fashion different tests for different AD/CVD orders. The discretion recognized in this ruling creates greater uncertainty for importers with respect to the country of origin of imports covered by AD/CVD orders, making customs compliance more difficult.
Continue Reading Federal Circuit Rules Broad Discretion for Commerce in Country of Origin of AD/CVD Imports
On April 26, 2017, the U.S.-based solar manufacturer Suniva, Inc. filed a petition for global safeguards with the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”). In particular, Suniva requests the imposition of tariffs on solar cells and the establishment of a minimum price for solar modules imported into the United States. The petition was filed under Section…
A recent New York Times article reported on an early-stage, solar energy microgrid being formed in Brooklyn, called the Brooklyn Microgrid, that relies on blockchain technology, the innovative database technology used by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin that promises to transform industries as diverse as financial services, health care, retail, and manufacturing. The blockchain-based microgrid enables neighboring…
Today, our colleague Whitney Schneidman posted on CovAfrica an interesting article that explores the theme of solar energy as an increasingly attractive opportunity for investment in Africa. The article can be read here.
Residential rooftop solar energy continues to expand at a rapid pace in many states. This growing market dynamic is affecting the business model of traditional electric utilities. Some utilities have sought to impose obstacles to the growth of competing solar rooftop providers, citing concern that as more homes produce their own electricity, the corresponding loss…
On March 28, His Serene Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco bestowed innovation awards for excellence in the field of environmental technology to three emerging technology companies — Mango Materials, Frigesco, and One Earth Designs — out of a field of 22 companies from 11 countries that participated in the annual three-day CleanEquity…