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On April 24, 2024, a coalition of four U.S. producers of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and modules filed an antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) petition on imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules, from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.  The Petitioning entities are:  (1) Convalt Energy, (2) First Solar, Inc., (3) Hanwha Q CELLS USA, Inc., and (4) Mission Solar Energy LLC.  This new AD/CVD case is a follow-on to prior AD/CVD proceedings covering imports of solar cells and modules from China, as well as certain imports from Southeast Asia found to be circumventing the AD/CVD orders from China because they included Chinese inputs. 

Rumors and news reports had been circulating about this new petition for some time.  The filing of the petition appears to have been timed to coincide with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (Commerce) new regulations aimed at strengthening AD/CVD enforcement, which went into effect on the same day that the petition was filed.  Many of the allegations made in the petition indicate that that relief is being sought against Chinese influence beyond input supply for the cells and modules in the countries subject to this petition.  Many of Commerce’s new regulations are aimed at addressing such influence by China in third-country markets. 

The AD/CVD investigations will now proceed before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and Commerce.  The ITC will determine whether the domestic solar cell and module industry is suffering material economic injury by reason of subject imports.  Commerce will determine whether, and if so, to what extent, the imports are being dumped and/or subsidized. 

The antidumping duty margins alleged for each country are listed below:

Cambodia:                                           126.07%

Malaysia:                                            81.24%

Thailand:                                             70.35%

Vietnam:                                             271.45%

It is important to note that the AD margins alleged in the petition are not necessarily the margins that will be imposed if the petition is successful.  As part of its investigation, Commerce will calculate country- and company-specific margins.  The petition also alleges a number of subsidies for imports from each country which could result in additional duties if Commerce finds the government programs to be countervailable.  CVD margins also are country- and company-specific.

As reflected in the detailed schedule below, these cases will move quickly.  Preliminary duty deposits will be imposed if Commerce and the ITC both make affirmative preliminary determinations, with a possibility for retroactive duties if there is a surge in imports in response to the petition being filed.  We provide below our current estimates for the timing of potential duties in both the AD and CVD proceedings.      

SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION

The following language describes the imported merchandise from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam that is within the scope of this Petition:

The physical characteristics of the covered products, which define the scope, are as follows:

The merchandise covered by these investigations is crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, and modules, laminates, and panels, consisting of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products, including, but not limited to, modules, laminates, panels and building integrated materials.

These investigations cover crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells of thickness equal to or greater than 20 micrometers, having a p/n junction formed by any means, whether or not the cell has undergone other processing, including, but not limited to, cleaning, etching, coating, and/or addition of materials (including, but not limited to, metallization and conductor patterns) to collect and forward the electricity that is generated by the cell.

Merchandise under consideration may be described at the time of importation as parts for final finished products that are assembled after importation, including, but not limited to, modules, laminates, panels, building- integrated modules, building- integrated panels, or other finished goods kits. Such parts that otherwise meet the definition of merchandise under consideration are included in the scope of the investigations.

Excluded from the scope of the investigations are thin film photovoltaic products produced from amorphous silicon (a- Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe), or copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS).

Also excluded from the scope of the investigations are crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, not exceeding 10,000 mm2 in surface area, that are permanently integrated into a consumer good whose function is other than power generation and that consumes the electricity generated by the integrated crystalline silicon photovoltaic cell. Where more than one cell is permanently

integrated into a consumer good, the surface area for purposes of this exclusion shall be the total combined surface area of all cells that are integrated into the consumer good.

Additionally, excluded from the scope of the investigations are panels with surface area from 3,450 mm2 to 33,782 mm2 with one black wire and one red wire (each of type 22 AWG or 24 AWG not more than 206 mm in length when measured from panel extrusion), and not exceeding 2.9 volts, 1.1 amps, and 3.19 watts. For the purposes of this exclusion, no panel shall contain an internal battery or external computer peripheral ports.

Also excluded from the scope of the investigations are:

1. Off grid CSPV panels in rigid form with a glass cover, with the following characteristics: (A) a total power output of 100 watts or less per panel; (B) a maximum surface area of 8,000 cm2 per panel; (C) do not include a built-in inverter; (D) must include a permanently connected wire

that terminates in either an 8 mm male barrel connector, or a two-port rectangular connector with two pins in square housings of different colors; (E) must include visible parallel grid collector metallic wire lines every 1-4 millimeters across each solar cell; and (F) must be in individual retail packaging (for purposes of this provision, retail packaging typically includes graphics, the product name, its description and/or features, and foam for transport); and

2. Off grid CSPV panels without a glass cover, with the following characteristics: (A) a total power output of 100 watts or less per panel; (B) a maximum surface area of 8,000 cm2 per panel; (C) do not include a built-in inverter; (D) must include visible parallel grid collector metallic

wire lines every 1-4 millimeters across each solar cell; and (E) each panel is 1. permanently integrated into a consumer good; 2. encased in a laminated material without stitching, or 3. has all of the following characteristics: (i) the panel is encased in sewn fabric with visible stitching, (ii) includes a mesh zippered storage pocket, and (iii) includes a permanently attached wire that terminates in a female USB-A connector.

In addition, the following CSPV panels are excluded from the scope of the investigations: off-grid CSPV panels in rigid form with a glass cover, with each of the following physical characteristics, whether or not assembled into a fully completed off-grid hydropanel whose function is conversion of water vapor into liquid water: (A) a total power output of no more than 80 watts per panel; (B) a surface area of less than 5,000 square centimeters (cm2) per panel; (C) do not include a built-in inverter; (D) do not have a frame around the edges of the panel; (E) include a clear glass back panel; and (F) must include a permanently connected wire that terminates in a twoport rectangular connector.

Additionally excluded from the scope of these investigations are off-grid small portable crystalline silicon photovoltaic panels, with or without a glass cover, with the following characteristics: ( 1) a total power output of 200 watts or less per panel; (2) a maximum surface area of 16,000 cm2 per panel; (3) no built-in inverter; (4) an integrated handle or a handle attached to the package for ease of carry; (5) one or more integrated kickstands for easy installation or angle adjustment; and (6) a wire of not less than 3 meters either permanently connected or attached to the package that terminates in an 8 mm diameter male barrel

connector.

Also excluded from the scope of these investigations are off-grid crystalline silicon photovoltaic panels in rigid form with a glass cover, with each of the following physical characteristics, whether or not assembled into a fully completed off-grid hydropanel whose function is conversion of water vapor into liquid water: (A) a total power output of no more than 180 watts per panel at 155 degrees Celsius; (B) a surface area of less than 16,000 square centimeters (cm2) per panel; (C) include a keep- out area of approximately 1,200 cm2 around the edges of the panel that does not contain solar cells; (D) do not include a built-in inverter; (E) do not have a frame around the edges of the panel; (F) include a clear glass back panel; (G) must include a permanently connected wire that terminates in a two-port rounded rectangular, sealed connector; (H) include a thermistor installed into the permanently connected wire before the two port connector; and (I) include exposed positive and negative terminals at opposite ends of the panel, not enclosed in a junction box.

Modules, laminates, and panels produced in a third- country from cells produced in a subject country are covered by the investigations; however, modules, laminates, and panels produced in a subject country from cells produced in a third-country are not covered by the investigations.

Also excluded from the scope of these investigations are all products covered by the scope of the antidumping and countervailing duty orders on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules, from the

People’s &public of China, 77 Fed. Reg. 73,018 (Dep’t Commerce Dec. 7, 2012) (amended final deter. of sales at less than fair value, and antidumping duty order); and Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, from the Pecple’s &public cf China, 77 Fed. Reg. 73,017 (Dep’t Commerce Dec. 7, 2012) (countervailing duty order) Merchandise covered by the investigations is currently classified in the Harmonized Tariff System of the United States (“HTSUS”) under subheadings 8501.61.0000, 8507.20.80, 8541.42.0010, and 8541.43.0010. These HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes; the written description of the scope of the investigations is dispositive.

Subject merchandise includes products meeting the physical description set forth in the scope language, regardless of the manufacturing technology utilized (e.g., tunnel oxide passivated contact (“TOPCon”), passivated emitter and rear cell (“PERC”)). So-called “hybrid” c- Si PVcells and modules that also contain a layer of thin film are covered by the scope, consistent with the Department’s scope rulings in the Solar I China case. Tandem solar cells consisting of crystalline silicon and perovskite or other cell material, including but not limited to those produced in serial fashion or by mechanical stacking, are also covered. Also consistent with the Department’s Solar I scope rulings, c- Si PVcells are created once a wafer is doped and a positive/negative (“p/n”) junction is created.

PETITIONERS

Members of the American Alliance for Solar Manufacturing Trade Committee

1. Convalt Energy

800 Starbuck Avenue, A-15

Watertown, New York 13601

Phone: (212) 683-0400

Contact Person: Hari Achuthan

Email: hari.achuthan@acoinvestment.com

2. First Solar, Inc.

350 West Washington Street, Suite 600

Tempe, Arizona 85288

Phone: (603) 414-9300

Contact Person: Jason Dymbort

Email: jdymbort@firstsolar.com

3. Hanwha Q CELLS USA, Inc.

300 Nexus Drive

Dalton, Georgia 30721

Phone: (706) 671-3077

Contact Person: A Reum Kim

Email: areum.kim@cells.com

4. Mission Solar Energy LLC

8303 South New Braunfels Avenue

San Antonio, Texas 78235

Phone: (210) 531-8600

Contact Person: Grant Himes

Email: ghimes@missionsolar.com

COUNSEL FOR PETITIONERS

WILEY REIN LLP

2050 M Street, NW

Washington, DC 20036

Tel.: (202) 719-7000

NAMED PRODUCERS/EXPORTERS

For a list of foreign producers/exporters alleged by Petitioners, please see Attachment I.

NAMED IMPORTERS

For a list of importers alleged by Petitioners, please see Attachment II.

ESTIMATED SCHEDULE

As discussed above, AD/CVD proceedings move quickly.  Both the ITC and Commerce will conduct preliminary phase investigations to determine whether the case has sufficient merit to move forward to a final phase. 

ITC Injury Investigation

The ITC’s preliminary phase investigation will determine whether there is a reasonable indication of material injury to the domestic solar cell and module industry by reason of subject imports.  The estimated schedule below for the ITC preliminary phase investigation likely will not differ substantially from the dates to be listed in the ITC’s notice of institution, which will be published in the Federal Register shortly. 

ITC EventsEarliest Date
ITC Preliminary Investigation:
Petition FiledApril 24, 2024
Questionnaires DueMay 8, 2024
Request to appear at hearing                                     May 13, 2024
HearingMay 15, 2024
BriefsMay 20, 2024
ITC Preliminary VoteJune 8, 2024

If the ITC reaches an affirmative preliminary determination, the ITC likely will conduct its final phase investigation in late 2024 or early 2025.

Commerce AD/CVD Investigations

Commerce will conduct its AD/CVD investigations covering imports from each country in parallel with the ITC material injury proceedings.  If Commerce reaches an affirmative preliminary determination, it will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect AD and/or CVD deposits.  As reflected in the chart below, by statute, Commerce’s preliminary CVD determinations are, by statute, issued before the AD determinations, so preliminary CVD deposits would be imposed prior to preliminary AD deposits. 

DOC EventsEarliest DateFully Extended Preliminary Dates
DOC InitiationMay 14, 2024 
DOC Preliminary Antidumping DeterminationOctober 1, 2024November 20, 2024
DOC Final Antidumping DeterminationDecember 15, 2024April 4, 2025
DOC Preliminary Countervailing DeterminationJuly 18, 2024September 21, 2024
DOC Final Countervailing DeterminationOctober 1, 2024December 5, 2024

In our team’s experience, Commerce almost always fully extends the preliminary determinations for its AD/CVD investigations.  Therefore, we currently estimate that the earliest date that duty deposits would be imposed will be on or about September 21, 2024.

It is important to note, however, that Commerce has the authority to impose retroactive cash deposits for entries made up to 90 days prior to the preliminary AD and/or CVD determination should it find that so-called “critical circumstances” exist in light of a surge of imports in response to the petition.  If critical circumstances are found, cash deposits could be required for entries of subject merchandise made as early as late June (for CVD) and late August (for AD). 

The rates calculated in Commerce’s AD/CVD investigations will vary by country and by the specific producer/exporter from a given country.  AD margins will be calculated through Commerce’s examination of the largest producers and/or exporters in each named country.  In the CVD proceedings, Commerce will examine the programs alleged in the petition (summarized here in Appendix III) with reference to the largest exporters/producers in each country.

There are many variables that will affect the timing and extent of the AD and/or CVD duties that might be imposed as a result of the petition.  For example, any rates calculated in the preliminary determination will be subject to change in the final determination.  Moreover, to the extent that an affirmative final AD and/or CVD determination is reached, the rates calculated in the investigation will be subject to change on a yearly basis as part of Commerce’s administrative review process.  Therefore, it will be necessary for interested parties to carefully monitor the proceedings as the case progresses.

IMPORTS OF SUBJECT MERCHANDISE

U.S. Imports of Solar Cells

 202120222023
Cambodia   
Quantity (kw)466,288101,435
LDPV in $1,000$876$1,948$15,897
AUV ($/kw)$18,855$310$157
Malaysia   
Quantity (kw)712,0741,621,9121,435,762
LDPV in $1,000$131,212$410,593$324,453
AUV ($/kw)$184$253$226
Thailand   
Quantity (kw)104,28391,96917,889
LDPV in $1,000$19,285$18,943$3,908
AUV ($/kw)$185$206$218
Vietnam   
Quantity (kw)526,017670,465493,434
LDPV in $1,000$95,554$136,609$89,831
AUV ($/kw)$182$204$182

U.S. Imports of Solar Modules

U.S. Imports of Solar Modules

 202120222023
Cambodia   
Quantity (kw)799,1382,362,2196,620,835
LDPV in $1,000$226,521$788,305$2,383,384
AUV ($/kw)$283$334$360
Malaysia   
Quantity (kw)5,476,9721,674,6725,319,696
LDPV in $1,000$1,806,574$552,762$1,630,339
AUV ($/kw)$330$330$306
Thailand   
Quantity (kw)4,194,8794,532,73710,587,034
LDPV in $1,000$1,315,035$1,558,857$3,875,197
AUV ($/kw)$313$344$366
Vietnam   
Quantity (kw)4,809,8527,784,98011,808,087
LDPV in $1,000$1,477,172$2,724,620$4,022,270
AUV ($/kw)$307$350$341

CONTACT US

For more information concerning this petition and how it may affect your business, please contact Dan Wilson, Nithya Nagarajan, Jeffrey Neeley, or Stephen Brophy.