A US Commerce Department trade investigation that could lead to tariffs on imports of solar equipment components from Southeast Asian countries may be threatening the country’s clean energy projects, Zhitong Finance APP has learned.
An investigation by the American Clean Energy Association (ACP) found that at least 65% of solar installations coming online in the US in 2022 and 2023 are at significant risk of cancellation or delay under tariffs. Renewable energy developers, after reviewing more than 150 active solar projects, initially concluded that the Commerce Department’s retroactive tariffs would disrupt the market. Manufacturers of photovoltaic modules in the four countries targeted by the investigation — Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia — have suspended deliveries to the United States. Developers of solar projects in the United States say they do not have enough modules on hand to complete projects. That would put as much as $30 billion in investment plans at risk, according to the ACP.
Similar concerns were raised earlier this month by respondents to a separate study by the Solar Energy Industries Association. If the Commerce Department ends up retroactively imposing tariffs on solar components imported from the four countries, it will prompt some manufacturers to suspend shipments to the US. In addition, supporters of the U.S. solar industry disagree that cheap foreign imports will hurt the prospects of U.S. solar-equipment companies. They also say the risks of retroactive tariffs are overstated.