Solar tech supplier welcomes clarity on US tariffs

January 24, 2018 // By Nick Flaherty
Yesterday's announcement of a 30% tariff on imports of solar equipment into the US has been positive in clearing up recent uncertainty, says Europe’s largest solar equipment maker

“The possible imposition of punitive duties on the import of photovoltaic cells and modules into the U.S. has already caused uncertainty on the market in recent months,” said a spokesperson for PV inverter maker SMA Solar Technology in Berlin. “We are pleased that there is now clarity on this issue and the planned import duties are roughly in line with the ITC (International Trade Commission) proposal.”

In October last year the ITC recommended a 35% tariff.

However there are exceptions for shipments from Canada and Singapore, as well exceptions for certain types of PV technology such as thin film panels.

“There are still numerous uncertainties, however, which means we cannot foresee all the consequences. Nonetheless, we do not expect a sharp decline in the overall market in the US,” said SMA Solar, pointing to other growing markets to maintain its business. It has 3,00 staff in 20 countries and revenues of around €1bn. However India is also looking at a 70% tariff on panels from China.

“Thanks to our international presence, we can easily compensate for regional fluctuations in demand. The SMA Managing Board estimates that the global market for PV inverters will grow in the next few years,” said the spokesperson.

The US tariffs are expected to hit Chinese panel makers such as Trina Solar and Jinko Solar hardest, although some US companies with manufacturing in China and US installers may be hit as well.

SMA last week set up a subsidiary in Munich called conneva to provide digital energy management systems.

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