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Trading Blame for Solar

Drop in Q3 deployments sparks criticism of trade regulations

The U.S. added 4.6 GW of new solar capacity in the third quarter, a 17% decrease from the same quarter last year—and the dropoff has solar associations riled at the government.

“America’s clean energy economy hindered by its own trade actions,” said SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper as part of a statment released December 13. She said the solar and storage industry is “acting decisively” to build an ethical supply chain. She said that “unnecessary supply bottlenecks and trade restrictions are preventing manufacturers from getting the equipment they need to invest in U.S. facilities.”

The disruptions are "expected to cause a 23% decline in solar installations this year compared to 2021," according to findings of the U.S. Solar Market Insight Q4 2022 report released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie.

Utility-scale solar installations reached 2.5 GW, a 36% decrease over the same quarter last year, the report said. There were 340 MW of commercial solar installed, up 3% year-over-year and down 10% quarter-over-quarter. Community solar developers installed 212 MW, down 17% both year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter.

Hopper also said that in the aftermath of the IRA, “we cannot afford to waste time tinkering with trade laws as the climate threat looms.”

In a preliminary finding issued December 1, the Enforcement and Compliance arm of the International Trade Administration found that imports of certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules (solar cells and modules), that were exported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, or Vietnam using parts and components produced in China are circumventing the antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on solar cells and modules from China.

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