In the Federal Register on Wednesday (February 22, 2012), the United States Department of Commerce postponed for a third time the deadline for a preliminary determination in its investigation regarding alleged dumping of Chinese photovoltaic (PV) cells, the key component of solar energy panels. The new deadline is March 19, 2012. The original due date had been January 12, 2012. Previous postponements had pushed the date first to February 13, 2012, and then to March 2, 2012.
The Department is considering the imposition of a countervailing duty, which would increase the cost of Chinese PV imports.
This proceeding is required, because in early December 2011, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) voted 6-0 that there was a reasonable indication that the U.S. solar panel and cells industry has been injured or is threatened with injury by imports of crystalline silicon PV cells and modules from China.
The anti-dumping charges have been leveled by U.S. PV manufacturers. U.S. installers, however, have expressed concern that driving up the cost of solar panels could not come at a worse time for the industry, which has been buffeted by the expiration of a generous federal rebate program and curtailment of various rebate and other support programs in certain states.