March 6 (Reuters) – U.S. solar panel imports are finally resuming after months of a freeze stemming from the implementation of a new law banning products made with forced labor, according to two Chinese solar companies.
A White House official confirmed the shipping thaw at an energy conference on Monday, attributing it to clearer rules regarding compliance with the Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act (UFLPA).
The gains are a relief for major Chinese suppliers, including Trina Solar (688599.SS) and Jinko Solar (JKS.N), which are finally bringing products to the lucrative US market after long delays.
The Labor Protection Law prohibits imports of products made in China’s Xinjiang region, where Chinese authorities have reportedly set up labor camps for Uyghurs and other Muslim groups. China denies any abuse.
The movement of panels stuck at the border or awaiting shipment from overseas should help ease delays in the development of U.S. solar projects resulting from the implementation of the law, which went into effect in June of l ‘last year.
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The project’s construction freeze posed a risk to the Biden administration’s clean energy and climate change goals, the industry said.
“There are clearer indications, and we’re seeing more shipments coming in,” John Podesta, President Joe Biden’s senior adviser on clean energy issues, told reporters Monday on the sidelines of the energy conference. CERA Week in Houston. He did not give details on the amount of panels that passed through customs.
Trina Solar Co Ltd (688599.SS) told Reuters that more than 900 megawatts of its solar panels have cleared US customs in the past four months, with less than 1% of those products being detained for examination. That’s about enough capacity to power over 150,000 homes.
“Trina’s data systems and supply chain management allow us to provide detailed traceability documentation, when requested by US Customs,” said Trina US spokeswoman Melissa Cavanagh. in an email. “This has significantly reduced delays at ports.”
The UFLPA essentially assumes that all goods from Xinjiang are made with forced labor and requires producers to show sourcing documentation from imported equipment to raw material to prove otherwise before imports can clear customs. .
Trina’s rival Jinko Solar Holding Co Ltd (JKS.N) has also had its shipments released, a source close to the company said.
By October, U.S. Customs and Border Protection had seized more than 1,000 shipments of solar power equipment under UFLPA, the agency said in response to a public records request. None had been released.
The products were primarily manufactured by Trina, Jinko and Longi Green Energy Technology Co Ltd (601012.SS), according to industry sources. These companies typically account for up to one-third of panel supplies in the United States.
Longi did not respond to requests for comment.
In response to another request for public records last month, US Customs said it had released 374, or more than a quarter of the 1,433 electronic submissions it had withheld under the UFLPA. He would not specify how many of them were sunscreen products.
Polycrystalline silicon, a raw material for the solar industry, is identified as a high priority sector by law.
Reporting by Richard Valdmanis in Houston and Nichola Groom in Los Angeles Editing by David Gregorio, Matthew Lewis and Sonali Paul
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