The United States has waived tariffs on solar panels from four Southeast Asian nations – including Thailand – for two years and invoked the Defense Production Act to promote solar panel manufacturing at home.
The White House made the announcement on Monday (6 June), saying the tariff exemption applies to panels from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam and will serve as a “bridge” while U.S. manufacturing ramps up.
Reuters recently reported that U.S. President Joe Biden would issue a proclamation ensuring that panels accounting for some 80% of U.S. imports would not face tariffs. Shares in U.S. solar companies including SunPower Corp, Enphase Energy Inc and Sunrun Inc climbed after the news.
The move comes in response to concerns over a nationwide freeze on solar projects and how this would impact plans to fight climate change. An investigation announced in March was considering whether solar panel imports from the four Southeast Asian nations were circumventing tariffs on goods made in China.
The probe had prompted the largest solar trade group to cut its installation forecasts for this year and next by 46%, as developers including NextEra Energy Inc and Southern Co warned of major project delays.
The White House said the Defense Production Act would be used to expand manufacturing of building insulation, heat pumps, transformers and equipment for “clean electricity-generated fuels,” such as electrolyzers and fuel cells. (NNT)