Cheap solar imports threaten US manufacturing — report

By Christian Robles | 03/13/2024 06:59 AM EDT

Proposed manufacturing plants may be canceled because of solar imports, researchers said.

An employee works inside a Qcells solar plant in Dalton, Georgia.

An employee working in a solar plant in Dalton, Georgia. Mike Stewart/AP

Some planned U.S. solar factories will struggle to make a profit because of cheap imports even after accounting for new federal tax subsidies, according to a new report.

The BloombergNEF report found that cheap imports of solar components could drop the U.S. selling price of solar panels from just over 23 cents per watt this year to as low as 16 cents per watt by the end of next year.

The U.S. imports most of its solar panels and cells from Southeast Asia. Some Chinese companies have been sending solar products through four Southeast Asian countries to work around U.S. solar tariffs, according to an August 2023 Commerce Department report. The U.S. is set to apply solar tariffs to products associated with Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand in June after a temporary two-year pause on solar import duties lifts.


“Price pressures, combined with construction delays and very high capex to build cell factories in the US will result in many cell factory plans being canceled,” wrote Pol Lezcano, a BloombergNEF solar analyst, in an email to E&E News.