US Extends Solar Tariffs, Exempts Bifacial Modules and Doubles Import Quota

Biden has extended the Section 201 solar tariffs imposed on the import of CSPV modules until 2026


The Biden administration has extended the Section 201 solar tariffs imposed on the import of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) modules for four more years, with several modifications.

The decision includes exemption of bifacial solar panels from the duty extension and increases the allowable import quota for solar cells from 2.5 GW to 5 GW.

Bifacial panels, which absorb light on both sides, are most common in utility-scale solar projects.

The White House statement explained the necessity of safeguard action on imports of CSPV cells (whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products) to prevent or remedy the serious injury to the domestic industry, which is making a positive adjustment to the import competition.

The Section 201 solar tariffs were introduced by former President Donald Trump in 2018, imposing a safeguard measure for a period of four years that included both a tariff-rate quota (TRQ) on imports of certain CSPV cells and an increase in safeguard tariff on imports of CSPV cells exceeding the TRQ and all imports of other CSPV products, including modules. The tariffs started at 30% and decreased each year gradually until reaching 15% in the final year. The Section 201 solar tariffs were scheduled to expire this month.

With the US imports going higher every year, the tariffs are meant to jump-start the local manufacturing. The solar industry, which has seen steady growth, expects to continue without further supply disruptions.

According to the US Solar Market Insight Report, released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie, the U.S. installed a 5.4 GW of solar capacity in Q3 2021, a 33% increase compared to the third quarter of 2020.

In its recent short-term energy outlook, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasted solar capacity to grow by around 21 GW in 2022 and 25 GW in 2023 in the United States.

In November 2021, the US Court of International Trade (CIT) overturned the Trump administration’s decision to reimposition tariffs on imported bifacial solar panels. In addition to excluding tariffs on bifacial solar modules, the CIT had also reduced the safeguard tariff on crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) solar panels.

In the same month, the US International Trade Commission (USITC) had concluded that there is evidence that the domestic industry is making a ‘positive adjustment’ to competition from imports. USITC had instituted an investigation after receiving multiple petitions requesting an extension of the relief filed by Auxin Solar, Suniva, Hanwha Q CELLS, LG Electronics USA, and Mission Solar Energy. The investigation was instituted to determine whether the relief provided by the President continues to be necessary to prevent serious injury and whether there is evidence that the industry is making a positive adjustment to import competition.

Biden also has directed the US trade representative to conclude agreements with Canada and Mexico to exclude them from the tariffs.