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American solar panel manufacturer closes shop, others announcing growth – all awaiting Trump’s Suniva ruling

Stion Solar, an American manufacturer of thin-film solar panels with a factory located in Mississippi, confirmed that they’re going to ‘discontinue’ operations. The manufacturing facility has 75MW/year of manufacturing capacity active that’s currently sold out.

Other solar manufacturers have made recent announcements to expand production in the USA. ITEK announced 150MW/year of monoPERC product in Washington State. CSUN – who first announced their California plant in February of 2017 – said that their solar panels will be available in January 2018. And of course, Tesla – who started plans long ago – is racing toward 1-2GW of solar tiles/year.

All of these actions occur while the market awaits Trump’s ruling on the Suniva solar tariff case.

In the GTM article, Stion’s management puts the reasoning on, “intense, non-market competition from foreign solar panel manufacturers, especially those based in China and proxy countries.” Non-market would be referencing to the Chinese government making it a national policy to financially support its solar panel manufacturers – even as they’re losing money. Insider talk at Stion suggested the last day of production is going to be next Friday, October 27th.

Stion said their plant will be maintained as a solar panel manufacturing facility for potential resale. The facility had the potential to house 500MW/year of solar manufacturing hardware. 75MW of hardware is already place, but not in use.

Just last week, ITEK Solar of Washington State announced that they would be expanding current manufacturing capacity with a new 48,000 sq foot facility. ITEK manufacturers standard 60 and 72 cell solar panels for residential and commercial applications. The new manufacturing line would be keeping with current global solar panels trends of monoPERC products dominating new product announcements.

And maybe the smartest solar manufacturing company in the room, CSUN, announced last Friday  that their new 360MW/year solar manufacturing facility in California is now taking orders for product that will be available for the US market starting in January. CSUN announced the signing of the lease back in February, long before the Suniva trade case was announced.

CSUN, in the recent press release about January availability, made significant references to the pending Suniva ruling and how their product will save customers money.

GTM sees around 5-7GW of solar capacity that is available to the US market without fear of tariffs applied. The US installed 14.6GW of solar in 2016.

Header image is of the Entergy Hinds Solar Station from Stion’s Facebook page

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