Pacific Business News: Hawaii PV Installers Brace for Tariff

Sunetric was mentioned and CEO Alex Tiller was quoted in the front-page article of the Friday, February 17, 2012 edition of Pacific Business News. The article centers around the adjustments being made by local PV companies in response to the potential tariff on Chinese-made silicon modules and cells:

The U.S. Department of Commerce could enact a tariff on Chinese-made silicon modules and cells as soon as next month that would raise the price of the raw material used for photovoltaic panels by as much as 200 percent. As a result, many Hawaii PV contractors are considering new panel suppliers, and some industry leaders say any increase in prices or disruption of crucial materials will slow the state’s fastest-growing industry.

Sunetric CEO Alex Tiller explained Sunetric’s position:

“Right now we do not offer Chinese-made panels,” said Alex Tiller, CEO of Sunetric, the state’s largest PV provider, according to PBN research. “We pulled back because of this issue, and we have such a variety of other panels we offer.” The dispute began last year when some U.S. PV manufacturers accused Chinese companies of getting subsidies from their government that resulted in unfair competition.

Tiller was also quoted later in the article:

For Kailua-based Sunetric, it expects the tariff to be a nonissue for the local market, except for larger-scale utility work. “Our energy prices in Hawaii are high enough that price parity can be achieved with non-Chinese panels, unlike on the Mainland where they have to have the cheapest panel,” Tiller said. “We’re quite fortunate here that it shouldn’t be a problem, as we have always been a fan of carrying an American-made product.”

The article may be read in full here.