You might remember that this past summer, the Trump Administration made an announcement regarding #bifacial solar panels. The announcement was that these #solar panels, which use solar cells on both sides to collect #energy from the sun, would be exempt from import tariffs (the tariffs being referenced are those which were introduced at the beginning of 2018. For solar developers, this was a big win because of a potential price decrease in solar panels, with manufacturers ramping up production).
However, the Trump Administration recently changed direction, making an announcement that at the end of October, exemption would come to an end for bifacial panels. Solar manufacturers with production overseas are potentially out of luck, if you will; however, there are some solar winners as a result of this decision. While the stock market can be unpredictable, if one is looking into clean energy stocks, these two might be worth considering at the moment…
#First Solar: Winner Number One
Back when solar tariffs were originally announced, First Solar saw many benefits and certainly came out ahead. This is a company that creates solar panels with a thin film, and not being subjected to tariffs, even when the solar panels are made overseas, is viewed as a big deal. It is important to note that this company has the most United States production when it comes to the solar industry. This means that it is already getting a great deal of business in the U.S.
What would be First Solar’s greatest competitor in terms of solar panels? Utility-scale developers creating bifacial panel imports. Take the competition out of the picture, however, and this company sees a huge win. It will certainly be interesting to see this company’s earnings reports in the near future. More importantly, it will be interesting to see what changes come to light in terms of using clean energy.
#SunPower: Another Big Winner
SunPower has done a great deal to grow in the U.S. and to avoid tariffs. Their efforts were a little less useful with the bifacial solar panel exemption. But SunPower’s moves to build United States manufacturing could yield more benefits now.
If you have followed SunPower, you might be aware that this company acquired SolarWorld Americas in a huge move, and then installed #P-Series solar panel manufacturing out in their plant in Oregon.
What are P-Series solar panels? And how are they relevant to tariffs?
These utilize commodity solar cells. They can be assembled into a panel that offers more efficiency than commodity solar panels. They are created for utility-scale and commercial projects. SunPower could import these solar cells (with a limit) tariff-free. Getting rid of the bifacial exemption is anticipated to make SunPower even more viable in U.S. markets.
SunPower’s most significant market is residential solar. Since the company made an effort to develop U.S. manufacturing, it was able to acquire a tariff exemption for its back-contact solar cells. SunPower’s residential products certainly could have been undercut by bifacial solar panels being competitive in terms of costs when compared to solar panels under tariffs.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the position SunPower has in relation to the residential market in the near future.
Solar Companies for the Win!
It is always good to see positivity in the world of solar, and SunPower and First Solar have both gotten a boost recently. In accordance with an article recently published on the Motley Fool, SunPower and First Solar can now have the ability to benefit from their exemptions from tariffs in terms of solar imports and from their U.S. manufacturing.
With tariffs set to be in place through early 2022, it will be fascinating to see what happens down the road. In the meantime, it is good to see clean energy-focused companies benefitting in some way. SunPower and First Solar have certainly come out ahead in this recent decision. Analysts, of course, have differing views on how the tariffs will impact the industry, so stay on top of solar news and be sure to do your research to stay in the know!