Week in Review: China Imposes Tariffs on US Silicon as it Throttles Back on New PV Manufacturing

Rooftop Solar Installation

Installing rooftop solar. Last week China imposed preliminary tariffs on U.S. silicon imports, just as the country announced that it would stop supporting new PV manufacturing expansions. Meanwhile, South Africa’s first utility-scale PV farm was completed, kicking off a solar boom in the country. In the U.S., solar appears to be taking off as well, with the most recent quarter seeing more PV being installed and the Navy increasing its investment in clean energy in Hawaii.

 

Last Monday, China said it would begin imposing preliminary anti-dumping duties on U.S.-made polysilicon. The tariffs of up to 6.5 percent are in addition to anti-dumping duties levied against U.S. polysilicon manufacturers earlier this year. Together, the combined tariffs can reach as high as 63.5 percent and are largely seen as a reaction to tariffs the U.S. imposed on Chinese PV manufacturers last year.  The U.S. tariffs will put into place after it was argued that China was selling its PV at below market values.

China also announced last week that it would begin banning the development of new PV manufacturing facilities, which could increase competitiveness amongst Chinese manufacturers. Experts predict that this move will also spur a flurry of mergers and acquisitions.

Over in South Africa, it was announced that the country has completed its first utility-scale PV plant. The new 75 megawatt Kalkbult solar farm, located in South Africa’s Northern Cape, was recently connected to the regional grid. The project was led by Norway’s Scatec Solar, and is the first project under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP). Under this program, 4 gigawatts of renewable energy will be installed under the initial round of contracts.  It's projected that nearly 18 gigawatts of clean energy will be installed by 2030.

In the U.S., the solar industry continues to gain ground. In the second quarter of 2013, the country saw 832 megawatts of newly installed solar power, which is almost 10 percent of the 9.3 gigawatts of solar that’s been installed in the U.S. over the past decade. The report, published by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, also found that the U.S. share of global solar installations is likely to grow to 13 percent of the world market - from 5 percent to 13 percent - by the end of 2013.

Last week, the Navy, as part of the Department of Defense’s efforts to significantly boost the amount of clean energy in Hawaii, invested $30 million in the Hawaiian Energy Excelerator. This investment tripled the amount of funding in the accelerator program to more than $40 million.

In Arizona, a local utility won the Environmental Stewardship Award for Southern Arizona from Valley Forward Association last weekend (Sept. 14). The award recognized Tucson Electric Power’s (TEP's) continued investment in solar energy. It’s that first time an organization outside of the Phoenix area has won the award and it’s also the first time an organization in southern Arizona has won. 

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