By now everyone has heard of the anti-dumping ruling proposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce. It had seemed that this ruling would not greatly affect most solar projects, but a recent finding by NPD Solarbuzz indicates otherwise — at least for utility-scale projects.
Of the 50 GW of projects in the U.S. PV project pipeline, more than 3 GW had been set to use Chinese modules, according to the latest NPD Solarbuzz United States Deal Tracker. These projects will now either need to look into using panels manufactured elsewhere, or face paying much more for the panels.
Large, ground-mounted systems have benefited from economies of scale, allowing some cost savings, but due to their tight margins they could be especially vulnerable to price increases. “Large-scale ground-mount PV installations are particularly vulnerable to cost increases and potential disruption, as many have signed power purchase agreements at aggressive rates,” said Michael Barker, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “Any increase in cost for the projects could mean renegotiation, delay, or even termination.”
Despite these new duties, solar has remained strong. The U.S. solar industry is still on track to grow over 39% from 2013. Utility-scale projects are expected to make up the majority of the installed capacity.
“Solar PV is rapidly becoming more cost-effective, as a power generation source,” said Christine Beadle, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “Project developers are swiftly adapting to new market dynamics and are driving strong growth, especially in community and carport systems, but this growth may be interrupted if any external factors increase prices significantly.”