Australia-China solar panel anti-dumping investigation further delayed until March 2015

An investigation by the Australian Anti-Dumping Commission (ADC) into certain crystalline silicon solar panels imported from China has been put off until next to next year due to the ADC’s heavy workload. The Commission’s Statement of Essential Facts (SEF), which will serve as the basis of the ADC’s recommendations to Parliament, will be postponed until at most March of 2015. This is the second time that the ADC commissioner has requested additional time to complete the investigation.

The anti-dumping investigation was initiated by Australian’s only remaining solar panel manufacturer, Tindo Solar, in May of this year upon worries that solar panels from China were being imported to Australia at prices below production cost. China is home to more solar panel manufacturers than any other country, although many of them have collapsed or were absorbed in recent years as a global supply glut wreaked havoc throughout the solar manufacturing industry.

Europe and the US, which are both home to a number of panel manufacturing plants, have both imposed tariffs on solar panels imported from China following anti-dumping investigations of their own. Tindo solar panels are generally considered a ‘premium’ panel option in the Australian market Although the company has openly speculated about exporting its modules to China, and has already made at least one shipment of its panels to India, its focus is primarily on the Australian market. Tindo says that that the investigation could level the playing field and allow them to compete more fairly in their own market.

Most players in the Australian solar industry, however, are concerned that any penalty duties levied on imported panels could be devastating for them. The Australian Solar Council, describing all trade cases as ‘by their nature political’, has advised that all importers of Chinese panels get involved and make their voices heard by the government in order to protect their interests.

Interestingly, the broad investigation will include products which are not in direct competition with Tindo’s panels, such as 72-cell modules, commonly used in large commercial and utility-scale projects. Tindo’s Karra panels are smaller, 60-cell panels, which are generally deployed in residential and smaller-scale commercial projects.

Details about how to lodge a submission in the case can be found in the ADC’s original notice announcing the investigation.

© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd