Federal Government Revokes Tariff Exemption for Bifacial PV Solar Panels

On top of this, the tariffs themselves will be raised from 15% to 18%.


News: Federal Gov’t Revokes Tariff Exemption for Bifacial PV Solar Panels.

Federal government officials have announced that the exemption for bifacial solar panels from tariffs would be revoked starting next year. On top of this, the tariffs themselves will be raised from 15% to 18%.

What does this mean?

Starting next year, imported bifacial solar panels will cost more. As a reminder, tariffs are taxes paid by Americans who import the targeted goods. Those costs are usually passed along to the American consumers. Bifacial solar panels had been exempt from these tariffs until this recent announcement.

What are bifacial solar panels?

Bifacial solar panels are solar panels that capture sunlight on both sides instead of just the top side. The back sides capture reflected sunlight from snow, asphalt, or any reflective surface. (Yes, sunlight that is reflected off another surface first is still usable to generate electricity from photovoltaic panels.)

Bifacial Solar Panels (Image credit: Nikkei BP)

Bifacial Solar Panels (Image credit: Nikkei BP)

How does this affect solar customers?

Directly, it does not; these bifacial solar panels are intended for use by large-scale industrial solar power generators. According to a US model, bifacial solar plants can generate as much as 7% higher returns, and power output can be up to 25% higher than single-faced solar cells.

These large scale projects have been intended to 1) provide cleaner electricity, and 2) mitigate rises in electricity costs for everyday consumers. By revoking the tariff exemption, these panels will be taxed 18% extra starting next year, which can cause the cost of new projects to rise or cancel them entirely.

This can trickle down to normal families as either dirtier electricity generation (and all the adverse health effects that come with it), or a higher monthly electricity bill, or both.

Get a solar tax credit instead

This announcement from the federal government comes mid-October, which should help force a decision for anyone who was on the fence about home solar. Sungevity can still get solar panels installed and permission to operate before the end of the year, which means you’ll still be able to take advantage of the 2020 federal solar tax credit (need to be activated by Dec. 31st) and you will miss out on any upticks in your electric bill. But you should act now – if you’ve got any questions about going solar, please reach out to us directly!

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Reuters Events Renewables: Trump revokes bifacial tariff exemption; Europe’s MPs agree 60% cut in emissions by 2030