It’s official mow: counter to its request for an exclusion, SolarCity’s Silevo modules are to be included in the US trade case against Chinese products. This information was made public in a preliminary ruling this week.
According to PV-Tech, SolarCity presented an argument that its ‘Triex’ solar cells are a thin-film technology and shouldn’t be included.
SolarWorld, the petitioner in the case, argued that the cells have a crystalline silicon substrate and should be added. SolarCity argues that the amorphous-silicon layers added to that substrate determine the type of cell Triex technology represents. Both sides presented their technical information to the Department of Commerce.
A final decision on this case is expected on June 23rd.
In a statement issued to PV Tech prior to the preliminary ruling, a SolarCity spokesperson said, “The Silevo modules are manufactured with a c-Si substrate, but the substrate is not what defines a cell. In production, numerous a-Si thin film layers are applied to the substrate to create an a-Si thin-film product, which is outside the scope of the Orders.”
SolarCity contends this will negatively impact its US manufacturing facility:
“SolarCity acquired Silevo in part to significantly expand solar manufacturing in the US – we’ve already moved Silevo’s R&D and pilot manufacturing to California from China and we’re building the largest solar manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere in New York. SolarWorld offers an inferior product, and are trying to protect their own selfish interests by attempting to make other solar technology more expensive for customers.”
Silevo products imported from China to the US would be charged upfront duties at customs, effectively reducing the product’s competitive pricing. SolarCity’s facility in Buffalo, New York will produce Silevo solar cells and modules by volume making their inclusion in the case dependent on where its cells are produced and the amount of transformation work done to any wafers that it imports into the US.
SolarWorld has argued because Silevo’s Triex cell has a crystalline silicon substrate and a p-n junction, it should be included in the scope of the case. “They have a p-n junction so they are covered and the same is said of other bifacial and hybrid cells,” a SolarWorld spokesperson said.
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