Solar panel installers at work
Solar panel installers at work in Washington, D.C. (Credit Alex WongGetty Images)

The International Trade Commission (ITC) voted 4-0 handing a big win to bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Suniva. The ruling finds that cheap imported solar panels and modules had a negative impact on sales of solar panels manufactured in the United States.

This is a preliminary finding, which means the ITC’s ruling is now on its way to Trump’s desk for a final decision.

His decision will be to either slap sanctions on foreign solar panels in the form of additional tariffs or take other actions.

Although this represents a big victory for Suniva, which filed the complaint stating an increase in lower priced imported panels have made it more difficult for the company to compete in the U.S market. Thus, putting their business at risk.

Basically, they are blaming cheap panels for their bankruptcy filing.

This “Trade War” has seen Suniva and SolarWorld on one side, and the rest of the U.S Solar Industry including the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) on the other side.

The SEIA allied with other U.S solar entities—forming the Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC)—with the mandate to coordinate opposition to the trade case. This involved aggressive lobbying campaigns against the import penalties.

The U.S industry says this favorable decision puts hundreds of thousands of solar industry jobs at risk.

While Trump has a few weeks to make his decision, the industry simply has to wait and make it more difficult for him to decide in favor of the ruling.

But as unpredictable as this Administration has been, who knows what could happen?

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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