Solar panel prices may be headed up, jobs down after ruling

Updated September 22, 2017 - 7:35 pm

U.S. solar panel prices may be headed upward and industry jobs downward.

The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled Friday that cheap imports of solar cells and panels have hurt American manufacturers, opening the door to higher tariffs.

U.S. solar prices have declined significantly over the years driven in part by a flood of low-cost imports from Asia. While that has helped make solar cheaper and more competitive with other sources of energy, it has hurt some U.S. manufacturers.

Suniva, a Georgia-based producer owned by a Chinese company, filed the original petition with the U.S. trade body in April after it declared bankruptcy. SolarWorld, the largest U.S. producer, later joined as a co-petitioner.

Imports account for slightly more than 80 percent of the U.S. solar panel market.

Suniva said in a statement Friday that it was “gratified” by the decision.

In the run-up to Friday’s decision, the Solar Energy Industries Association, an industry lobby group, leading installation companies like Sunrun as well as a bipartisan group of governors spoke out strongly against the imposition of tariffs.

The U.S. could lose as many as 88,000 jobs, mainly in the area of installation, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Nevada could lose as many as 2,000 jobs.

“The requested tariff could inflict a devastating blow on our states’ solar industries and lead to unprecedented job loss, at steep cost to our states’ economies,” Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said in statement Thursday to the trade commission. The governors of Colorado, Massachusetts and North Carolina also oppose the tariff.

Suniva and SolarWorld have asked the trade commission to impose tariffs of $0.40/watt for cells and set an import floor price of $0.78$/watt for panels for four years.

That would nearly double the cost of panels in the U.S. compared with the start of the year, when prices were around $0.30-$0.35/watt.

Panel prices have risen to between 46 and 48 cents per watt since April amid concerns the trade commission would support the petitioners, said MJ Shiao, head of Americas research at GTM Research.

Panel prices account for about one-third of the total cost of a large-scale solar power plant, according Shiao. They account for about 13 percent of the cost of residential projects.

The doubling of panel prices could reduce the launch of new solar capacity by 50 percent over the next five years, according to Shiao.

“We are right at the beginning of the trend where solar is more affordable than other forms of energy, said Shiao. “Even a small increase in solar prices will force some of these markets that are just about to grow to take a step back.’’

U.S. solar installation rose 98 percent last year and, for the first time, was the largest source of new energy in the U.S. More than 14 gigawatts of solar energy were built last year.

Friday’s decision does not imply that the U.S. will double prices on solar imports, though chances are high that some kind of tariffs will be imposed.

The trade commission will next hold a hearing Oct. 3 as it determines what recommendations to make.

The Solar Energy Industries Association will send its proposal to the trade commission on Wednesday, said President Abigail Ross Hopper during a conference call on Friday.

The commission will have until Nov. 13 to send its recommendation to the White House. The Trump administration will then have until Jan. 12 to make a final decision.

Trump has made supporting U.S. manufacturing a key component of his economic platform and has repeatedly suggested imposing tariffs to protect domestic jobs.

Contact Todd Prince at tprince@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0386. Follow @toddprincetv on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like