Silevo Modules From Solar City Will Be Included In China-US Trade Case

It’s official mow: cSolar City logoounter 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.

US-China trade shutterstock_393025543In 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.

Image via Shutterstock


4 thoughts on “Silevo Modules From Solar City Will Be Included In China-US Trade Case”

  1. If they truly wanted to manufacture the cells in New York, as they “sort of” claim in their release, then there would be no import duties, as the cells wouldn’t be imported. Solar City still plans to import Chinese-produced cells to be manufactured into modules in New York, and the cells manufactured in China are still being sold below cost to try and dominate the global market and force all other countries out of the business. In these specific cells, the fact that they are a c-Si substrate is what makes them cheaper to manufacture, which is the essence of the trade case.

    Solar City is just trying to get around the tariffs and duties so that they can continue to reap their ridiculously high margins, while manufacturers continue to operate barely cash-positive, and in China, at a loss. Their greed makes them the perfect shill for China in their attempt to steal the market.

    1. I tend to agree. The US needs very simple a clear definitions of what is a module and then apply that universally.

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