U.S. imposes tariffs on Chinese solar imports, though smaller than expected

The U.S. Department of Commerce concluded the first part of its investigation into anti-competitive practice complaints against the Chinese solar power industry this week.

Ultimately, the agency decided to impose a new tariff on all imported Chinese solar panels, but the tariff was actually much smaller than many anticipated, according to The New York Times.

The new tariffs will range from 2.9 percent to 4.73 percent, acknowledging that Chinese companies have benefited from some limited export tariffs.

"This is a victory for the solar industry," Jigar Shah, president of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, told Bloomberg. "The government of China was found innocent of all charges, that’s what low tariffs mean."

Others have challenged that interpretation, noting that any tariffs indicate the presence of unfair practices. And these tariffs could actually increase in size later this year if the Commerce Department determines Chinese companies have been "dumping" solar panels, selling at prices below what it costs to produce them. That decision is scheduled to come out in May.

PennEnergy's Research area offers projections for the outlook of the Chinese solar market.

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