OEMs, installers, distributors and consumers involved in the solar energy industry have strong opinions regarding the imposition of import duties on Chinese solar panels. This groundbreaking decision by the US government will affect the solar power industry in major ways, stretching from solar panel fastener distributors to importers, freight companies and retailers.
Duties to Be Levied
The American Department of Commerce investigated subsidy amounts received by Chinese solar panel manufacturers, and has since decided to levy duties equivalent to those subsidies. That means Chinese manufacturers such as Trina Solar and Suntech are facing a direct hit to their current bottom line.
Previous forecasts placed the potential levies at ten percent; the actual duties to be collected are under five percent.
Opposition Vs Support
Many retailers and distributors of these Chinese products claim the levies are unfair and will reduce the demand for PV panels at a time when renewable energy is not only preferable, but also necessary.
North American solar panel manufacturers disagree and welcome the levies, stating that those duties level the playing field in a competitive market. Domestic suppliers of OEM components, such as solar panel fasteners and mounting racks, should see demand increase if solar energy manufacturing shifts to North American soil. This will create jobs and boost the local economy, according to the supporters of the US Department of Commerce decision.
Some domestic companies may experience a reduction in business, particularly American polysilicon exporters selling to Chinese manufacturers. If the North American market cools off due to increased costs, companies that supply solar panel installers – such as fastener distributors and electrical suppliers – may also experience slower orders.
However, reducing the availability of imported solar panel systems may increase the demand for domestically made systems. Fastener distributors and electrical suppliers would continue to thrive in those market conditions.
The Department of Commerce continues to keep a close eye on solar panel imports. Claims that businesses from China are selling solar energy systems below cost in the US market are being given careful attention, with the findings expected to be publicized in May of this year.
Whatever the findings of these continuing investigations, the duties now being levied to Chinese manufacturers will have an affect on the solar power industry. Fastener distributors, solar panel installers, industry retailers and consumers will keep a close eye out.
Started my career in the fastener world in 1969 at, Parker Kalon Corp. a NJ based screw manufacturer located in Clifton, NJ working in inventory control, scheduling secondary production and concluding there in purchasing. In 1971 I accepted a sales position at Star Stainless Screw Co., Totowa, NJ working in inside sales and later as an outside salesman, having a successful career at Star I had the desire with a friend to start our own fastener distribution company in 1980 named: Divspec, Kenilworth, NJ. This was a successful adventure but ended in 1985 with me starting Melfast in August 1985 and have stayed competitive and successful to date. Melfast serves the OEM market with approximately 400 accounts nationally.