(Bloomberg) A US trade investigation into Chinese solar-panel suppliers jeopardizes almost two-thirds of planned domestic capacity additions this year, according to industry consultant Rystad Energy.“In an attempt to limit cheap Chinese solar panels entering the market from southeast Asia, and with one eye on the goal of shoring up a domestic supply chain, the US has seriously dented its solar capacity forecast for 2022 and beyond,” Rystad Energy renewables analyst Marcelo Ortega said in a Tuesday report. “This could be the most disruptive event ever to face the US solar industry.”As much as 17.5 gigawatts of planned 2022 additions are in doubt, according to the firm, which expected the US to install 27 gigawatts of utility-scale, residential, commercial and industrial solar this year.
The firm’s report echoes last month’s survey from Washington-based advocacy group American Clean Power Association that warned that at least 65% of US solar capacity set to come online in 2022 and 2023 — equivalent to 24 gigawatts — is at risk of cancellation or delay due to the US Commerce Department investigation.
Trade and supply-chain constraints have significantly weakened the outlook for a key sector in the country’s fight against climate change. Chinese manufacturers are halting shipments of panels to the US pending results of the probe, Rystad said. BloombergNEF last month cut its forecast for utility-scale solar this year by 25% to 17.8 gigawatts, citing “overland freight, backlogged ports, and higher prices.”
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