GTM Research has published a new report this week investigating the potential impact of introducing various levels of tariffs on the solar industry as a result of the Section 201 trade case currently in front of the US International Trade Commission.
I’ve been covering the Suniva and SolarWorld Section 201 trade case since the beginning (you can search through the past stories using the Suniva tag here) which was brought before the US International Trade Commission (ITC) seeking tariffs on crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cells and a floor price on CSPV modules.
Unsurprisingly, the US solar industry reacted with near-unanimous disappointment with the ITC’s decision, but have nevertheless promised to continue fighting in an effort to ensure that the remedy phase yields the best-possible outcome for the industry as a whole.
GTM Research, one of the leading market analysis and advisory firms, has this week published a series of 12 charts which analyzes the impact of imposing tariffs on the American solar industry. GTM has been working on this analysis for over a month, so the scenarios it lay out in its series of charts are not a direct one-for-one match with the modified proposals presented by Suniva and SolarWorld earlier this month.
Author’s note — I’m not going to duplicate GTM’s entire analysis, instead, I’ll just highlight a few of the most important and interesting.
Even before the ITC has issued a ruling and implemented tariffs, the sheer threat has already caused module prices to increase — an issue only being experienced in the United States.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, even though there have been some cost reductions across various segments of the US solar industry, the cost of solar has nevertheless increased for the first time in years.
GTM Research predicts that the net impact to its base forecast could likely range from between 9% under a 10 cents-per-watt tariff up to a devastating 48% under a 40 cents-per-watt tariff, with the biggest impact hitting the utility-scale solar sector, which according to GTM Research “is most sensitive to price increases, while the residential sector would be the most resilient.”
The utility-scale segment is deemed the most sensitive “because two-thirds of the project pipeline is driven by solar’s razor-thin economic competitiveness with other generation sources.”
But GTM believes that the utility-scale segment would be able to weather a 10 cents-per-watt tariff with only minimal disruption of around 10%.
The full report is available to view here.
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