The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced last Wednesday that bifacial solar panels will be exempt from the tariffs under Section 201, which were imposed on PV products with 2.5 GW or higher capacity in Jan. 2018 for a four-year period.
The move will benefit U.S. PV power developers and a number of Chinese suppliers, including Jinko, Longi, Hanwha, and Yingli, as well as LG of Korea.
Bifacial solar panel boasts higher power output, thanks to the ability of the reverse side to absorb reflective light from the ground and diffuse light, and is often installed above the water body or on areas with snow in winter. It has been quite popular in countries of high latitude such as Europe and Japan; the first rooftop bifacial PV power station in Taiwan was inaugurated in Feb. 2018.
A number of other solar panels were also exempt from Section 201 tariffs at the same time, including 250-900 w pliable, fiber-glass, frameless, and special-color PV modules, most of which are applicable in BIPV (building-integrated PV), autos/motorcycles, and boats.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) of the U.S. cheered the move, noting that it has been urging the U.S. government to exempt some special solar panels from the tariffs, notably bifacial PV modules. Colin Smith, senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, pointed out that the tariff exemption will boost the competitiveness of bifacial solar panels, making them more appealing to developers, due to the lower installation costs. The move will lower the cost of bifacial solar panels, now at 25-35 cents per watt, by 6-9 cents per watt, according to PV magazine.
In addition, thanks to the petition of the U.S. PV firm SunPower, the tariff on IBC PV cell is scheduled to be lifted in September.
(Collaborative media: TechNews, first photo is for illustration, courtesy of pixabay)