Bifacial Solar Panels, Once Exempt, Now Subject to Tariffs

Oct 9, 2019

by ASME.org

When President Trump first announced a 25 percent tariff on imported solar equipment in early 2018, bifacial solar panels—solar panels that generate electricity on both sides—were exempt. That exemption has now been revoked by U.S. Trade and the new tariffs are set to take effect on October 28.

When solar equipment tariffs first went into effect, the industry lost thousands of jobs and many projects were put on hold. Many manufacturers began to shift their supply chain towards bifacial panel production as a result of the technology being exempt from the tariff, but now that the Trump administration has eliminated the exemption many developers building large-scale solar projects in the U.S. face unexpected financial hurdles.

U.S. Trade rescinded the exemption in response to increased bifacial solar panel imports that jeopardized the industry in the U.S. Now that those imports will be subject to a 25 percent tariff, U.S. panel makers will be able to compete for local business.

Some remain concerned that the new tariff will slow the adoption of bifacial solar panels in the U.S., though others say that the panels will still present a competitive enough option for companies looking to invest, even without the exemption. Whether or not the new tariff will slow down bifacial solar panel adoption is unknown, but it is agreed that the technology is still expected to permeate the market as it is an effective renewable energy resource.