On October 18, 2011, SolarWorld Industries America Inc. (“SolarWorld”) filed a petition with the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) and the Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) alleging that crystalline silicon solar cells and panels imported from China are being sold at an unfair value in the U.S.  This practice is referred to as “dumping.”  The petition also alleges that imports from China are benefitting from unlawful government subsidies.

In their petition, SolarWorld requested that certain companies be excluded from the definition of “domestic industry,” as they are allegedly related to foreign producers/importers or are importers themselves.  These companies are Evergreen Solar Inc., Suntech Arizona, Inc., Motech Americas, LLC and Wanxiang New Energy LLC.  SolarWorld’s petition was supported by the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing.

The merchandise subject to these proceedings consists of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells, (individually, partially, or fully assembled into other products), including, but not limited to, modules, laminates, panels and building integrated materials. 

As a result of the Solar Wind petition, imports scheduled to enter the U.S. beginning October 20, 2011 could be subject to retroactive suspension and demands for additional retroactive cash deposits by U.S. Customs & Border Protection.  U.S. Importers of crystalline silicon solar cells and panels should monitor this new case closely.  The estimated date of the ITC’s preliminary conference on this matter is November 10, 2011.

This proceeding may affect utility companies who are in the process of building renewable energy facilities, and relying on imported silicon solar cells and panels.  Interested parties should examine the list of U.S. Importers, to determine whether their business dealings may be affected by this petition.

A copy of the petition is available here.

A copy of the list of U.S. importers is available here.