More than 300 solar projects in the United States have been canceled or delayed in recent weeks due to a Commerce Department investigation.
David Gelles is a reporter on the Climate Desk and has spoken with more than a dozen people involved in the solar industry for this article.
April 29, 2022 Updated 12:30 p.m. ET
Plans to install 60 square miles of solar panels in Vermont are abruptly halted.
In Maine, a solar farm that would operate hundreds of homes is partially built but may not be finished.
And a project in Texas that would have operated more than 10,000 homes was weeks away from blowing up ground, but has now been postponed until at least next year.
Around the country, solar companies are delaying projects, fighting for supplies, closing construction sites and warning that tens of billions of dollars – and tens of thousands of jobs – are at risk.
The riot is the result of a decision by the Commerce Department to investigate whether Chinese companies are avoiding U.S. tariffs by moving components for solar panels across four Southeast Asian countries.
Although officials have not yet found any signs of trade violations, the threat of retroactive tariffs has effectively halted imports of crystal silicon panels and components from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. These four countries supply 82 percent of the most popular type of solar modules used in the United States.
In a matter of weeks, 318 solar projects in the U.S. have been canceled or delayed, and hundreds of companies are considering layoffs, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association, which has surveyed more than 700 companies in recent days.
Energy experts warn that the outflow is just beginning. A monthly halt in imports from the four countries could have lasting consequences for the multibillion-dollar solar industry and the Biden administration’s ambitious goals of expanding renewable energy to combat climate change.
“The industry is basically frozen,” said Leah Stokes, a political scientist who studies climate at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It’s already leading to layoffs, to say the least about the impact on our climate targets.”
The Commerce Department launched its investigation on March 25 after Auxin Solar, a small California-based solar panel maker, filed a petition seeking an investigation into whether China is bypassing rules aimed at preventing state-subsidized solar panels from flooding the U.S. market.
Tariffs on Chinese solar panels have been in place since 2012, when the Obama administration imposed them in hopes of promoting domestic manufacturing and preventing China from dominating the emerging global market. In 2018, President Donald J. Trump imposed additional tariffs on some solar products from China, and Mr. Biden extended those tariffs in February.
For more than a decade, China has dominated the global supply chain for solar panels. The government’s policies and subsidies have fueled giant factories producing materials such as polysilicon and components such as solar cells that absorb energy from sunlight and convert it into electricity.
To avoid trade problems, U.S. solar installers purchased many of its panels from the four Southeast Asian countries. But according to Auxin, many of these panels are manufactured by foreign subsidiaries of Chinese companies and use cells, wafers and other parts that originated in China.
So far, the Commerce Department has reported that because the parts coming from China have been sufficiently processed by the companies in Southeast Asia, those components have not been subject to the tariffs.
But if the Commerce Department finds that the panels coming from Southeast Asia included Chinese-made parts that should be subject to tariffs, panels sold in the U.S. after the start of the investigation could carry steep taxes. And the threat of those extra costs has caused solar panel expeditions to stop.
In an interview, Auxin founder and leader Mamun Rashid said he submitted the petition because he believes existing tariffs are being undermined and hopes this research will help stimulate domestic manufacturing.
“Maybe the trade laws are being violated, that deception is happening,” Mr Rashid said. “We decided it would be irresponsible of us not to do anything, not to talk.”
Mr Rashid said he was acting on his own and was not cooperating with any other energy companies, investors or industry groups.
The process for assessing trade disputes is a complex system designed to prevent political interference. Business Secretary Gina Raimondo said this week that her department was legally obliged to deal with the matter.
“My hands are very tied here,” she said at a hearing in Capitol Hill on Wednesday. “I am legally required to investigate a claim that companies operating in other countries are trying to evade the obligations, and I am legally required to conduct a full investigation.”
A Commerce Department spokesman said it was “moving efforts to strengthen supply chains at the core of the clean energy transition, including the solar supply chain” and that it had “forced foreign producers to be held accountable for playing by the same rules”. as American producers. ”
Last year, the United States installed about 24 gigawatts of new solar capacity, a record helped by the declining cost of panels. But only about a fifth of these panels were produced nationally, while the rest were imported mainly from Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia.
As the effects of the federal survey are sweeping across the U.S. solar industry, its proponents are outraged.
“It’s an absurd result that the mere request of one company can bring the industry to its knees in this way,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, chief executive of the Sun Energy Industries Association. “The U.S. solar market is in chaos. Shipments have stopped, facilities are shut down, and people are starting to be laid off.”
The sudden frost on a solar panel installation is colliding with Mr Biden’s goal of accelerating the annual rate of solar installations nationwide to deliver on his promise to reduce U.S. emissions by at least 50 percent below 2005 levels by the end of this decade.
“For a management that accepts renewable energy as one of its core goals, this tariff survey has undermined all of that,” said Nick Bullinger, chief executive of Hecate Energy, a Chicago-based solar company. “The survey has a disastrous negative impact on the renewable energy sector and raises electricity prices. With the daily tariff survey continuing, the country is lagging behind in achieving our climate goals.
Understand the Latest News on Climate Change
Extreme heat. Heat has been hitting India and Pakistan for weeks, and it is expected to intensify. Read also : Homing in on longer-lasting perovskite solar cells. The scorching weather is reminiscent of what is ahead in an era of climate change, as heat waves grow more frequent, more dangerous and longer lasting.
The disruption affects companies large and small.
NextEra Energy, one of the largest renewable energy companies in the country, said it expected that between two and three gigawatts of solar and storage construction – enough to power more than a million homes – would not be completed this year as planned. .
“It absolutely disrupts our solar business as well as the industry,” said David Reuter, chief communications officer at NextEra. Shares in NextEra have fallen 15 percent in the last three weeks.
At Green Lantern Solar, a private solar installer based in Vermont, work on projects in Vermont and Maine has stopped.
“Branching is very important, not just for Green Lantern but all of our contractors,” said Scott Buckley, president of Green Lantern. “We had to call all our suppliers and have some very difficult conversations to say, ‘Thank you, but we can’t take deliveries.’
Overall, the Solar Energy Industry Association said its members had predicted a 46 percent reduction in the number of solar panels they would install over the next year.
However, another large solar company, First Solar, which manufactures a kind of solar panel unaffected by the tariff dispute, said it supports the survey.
“What we’re interested in is making sure there is an equal playing field for domestic producers,” said Reuven Proenca, a spokesman for First Solar. “We feel that the decision of the Department of Commerce to continue the investigation is a step in the right direction.”
For U.S. companies looking for solar panels, there are few easy substitutes for products from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
“We have called every U.S. panel manufacturer we could find, and none of them have panels available to us with any planned timeline that will allow us to continue these projects,” said Mr. Buckley of Green Lantern Solar.
Some proponents of the solar industry have suggested that the Commerce Department has the ability to quickly reverse direction and quickly halt the investigation.
“The secretary’s hands are anything but tied,” Heather Zichal, chief executive of American Clean Power, wrote in a blog post. “She has a path that is codified in the statute to stop a pointless process started by a ghost threat – and she can use those options in the coming weeks to revive a U.S. solar industry whipped up by her department’s actions.”
But Ms. Raimondo, answering a question Wednesday from Sen. Jacky Rosen, a Nevada Democrat, said there is only so much she can do. “What I’m going to give you is move as fast as you can,” she said.
Some analysts have argued that the United States should invest much more in domestic manufacturing to compete with overseas production of solar products. The Build Back Better bill in Congress, for example, would provide new tax rebates for solar wafers, cells, and home-made modules. But that legislation remains in limbo after Senator Joe Manchin III, a West Virginia Democrat, appeared in opposition last year.
While the solar industry is awaiting a decision from the Commerce Department, proponents of renewable energy are worried that time is running out. The Sun Energy Industries Association estimates that the lost or delayed solar deployment resulting from the survey will lead to an additional 364 million tons of carbon emissions by 2035, the equivalent of keeping 78 million gasoline-powered vehicles on the road.
“It will slow down the industry at a time when we need to move faster,” Ms. Stokes said. “This could be disastrous.”
Brad Plumer contributed reporting.
Based on the principle of photovoltaic effect, solar cells or photovoltaic cells are made. They convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. However, a single photovoltaic cell does not produce a sufficient amount of electricity.
Who owns Adani solar?
Adani Solar is the Solar PV production and EPC arm of the Adani Group, a diversified organization in India with a combined market cap of $ 100 Bn consisting of 6 publicly traded companies. See the article : San diego solar installation cost.
What is the best solar stock to buy now?
|Solar Shares with the Most Momentary|
|Price ($)||Market Limit ($ B)|
|JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd. (JKS)||54.94||2.6|
|SolarEdge Technologies Inc. (SEDG)||328.91||17.4|
|Enphase Energy Inc. (ENPH)||175.99||23.6|
Why does solar stock crash? Solar stocks fell sharply on Tuesday after California proposed new rules that would make homeowners more expensive to generate power from panels on their roofs. But one analyst thinks the sale was too steep and that the actions of solar developers are now discounting a future that seems too bleak.
Is sunrun a strong buy?
Moreover, the selling side is mostly in favor of RUN with 17 of the 21 analysts covering the shares, rating it either as ‘Buy’ or ‘Outperform’.
Is sunrun a profitable company?
The company lost 19 cents per share on $ 435 million in revenue. Analysts had expected a loss of 10 cents per share and $ 409 million in revenue. If Sunrun can continue its orders, it could also see rapid growth in 2022.
Is sunrun publicly traded?
Sunrun’s shares were first traded on the public markets on August 5, 2015. Where is Sunrun traded? Sunrun is traded on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange under the trading symbol RUN.
Is sunrun buy or sell?
Sunrun received a consensus rating from Buy. The company’s average rating score is 3.00, and is based on 18 buy ratings, no hold ratings and no sales estimates.
Is solar energy a good buy?
Victory-Victory. Clean solar energy is a stable investment that can give an attractive financial return. Moreover, solar energy offers the added benefits of protection against increased utilities, favorable tax treatment and very significant environmental benefits.
Is solar energy still a good investment?
Clean solar energy is a stable investment that can give an attractive financial return. Moreover, solar energy offers the added benefits of protection against increased utilities, favorable tax treatment and very significant environmental benefits.
Why solar panels are not worth it?
Your roof is too small: Solar panels need sunlight to generate electricity. The more sunlight they absorb, the more power they generate. If you have a small roof, you may find that solar panels simply won’t generate enough kilowatt-hours to impact your bills.
Is solar energy worth it in 2020?
Reducing or eliminating your electricity bill, taking advantage of federal tax rebates, increasing the value of your home, and much more – going solar is definitely worth it. Your exact return on investment is also affected by which solar payment option you choose.
What is the best clean energy ETF for 2021?
The 9 Best Clean Energy ETFs
- PBD – Invesco Global Clean Energy ETF. …
- QCLN – First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund. …
- SMOG – VanEck Vectors Low Carbon Energy ETF. …
- ERTH – Invesco MSCI Sustainable Future ETF. …
- CTEC – Global X CleanTech ETF. …
- FAN – First Trust Global Wind Energy ETF. …
- ACES – ALPS Pure Energy ETF.
Is renewable energy a good investment in 2021? After remaining flat in 2020, investment in the global electricity sector will increase by about 5% in 2021 to more than $ 820 billion. Renewables govern investment in new electricity generation and are expected to account for 70% of the total 2021 of $ 530 billion spent on each new generation capacity.
Is there a clean energy ETF?
The iShares Global Clean Energy ETF focuses on global companies that produce energy from solar, wind and other renewable energy sources.
Are clean energy ETFs a good investment?
The iShares Global Clean Energy ETF is highly valued in terms of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. The fund has an AAA rating of MSCI, placing it at 93 percent of all ETFs.
Are there any clean energy ETFs?
Direxion Daily Global Clean Energy Bull 2x Shares (KLNE) Global X Solar ETF (RAJJ) SPDR S&P Kensho Clean Power ETF (CNRG) First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund (QCLN)
What is the life cycle of solar panels?
According to studies, the lifespan of solar panels is about 30 years before decommissioning. Over the life of photovoltaic panels, a 20 percent decrease in power capacity could occur. Between the first 10 to 12 years, the maximum decrease in efficiency is 10 percent, and 20 percent after reaching 25 years.
How often should solar panels be replaced? The industry standard life expectancy is around 25 to 30 years, which means that some panels installed at the early end of the current boom are not long in coming.
How long do solar panels really last?
As a general rule, solar panels last about 25-30 years. However, this does not mean that they will stop producing electricity after 25 years – it only means that energy production has decreased by what manufacturers consider a significant amount.
Can a solar panel last 50 years?
Solar panels have been around for about 20 years, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The great news is that with proper maintenance, your dashboard can actually work for 40-50 years.
Will solar panels last 25 years?
Most solar installations will last an average of 25 years. During this period, manufacturers can guarantee that panels will operate at or near their maximum efficiency. Most guarantees guarantee at least 80% of their estimated production.
Can solar panels last 20 years?
Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic or PV panels, are made to last more than 25 years. In fact, many solar panels installed as early as the 1980s continue to operate at expected capacity. Not only are solar panels remarkably reliable, but the longevity of solar panels has increased dramatically over the last 20 years.
Do solar panels still work after 25 years?
In reality, solar panels can last much longer than that: the warranty typically guarantees that panels will operate above 80% of their estimated efficiency after 25 years. An NREL study shows that most panels still produce energy after 25 years, albeit with slightly reduced production.
What happens to solar panels after 20 years?
The industry standard for the productive lifespan of a solar panel is 25-30 years. However, a solar panel will not die after 25-30 years, rather their production will decrease a significant amount below what the manufacturer has projected.
Can solar panels last longer than 25 years?
The Lifespan of Solar Panels Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic or PV panels, are made to last more than 25 years. In fact, many solar panels installed as early as the 1980s continue to operate at expected capacity.
Do you have to replace solar panels after 25 years?
In general, solar panels are extremely durable and without moving parts, they will generally require little or no maintenance. Currently, the average lifespan of solar panels for housing is around 25-30 years, however some systems can last as long as 50!