EIA: US imports of solar photovoltaic modules mainly come from Asia
Post date: 14/02/2018 - 18:50
Solar PV module imports into the United States have increased »significantly in recent years and represent a sizable portion of installed solar capacity«, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). In 2016, US imports of solar modules measured in direct current (DC) totaled 13 GW (up from 2 GW in 2010) with two-thirds of 2016 imports coming from Malaysia, China, and South Korea.
Import capacity is reported in DC because it reflects the panel capacity, while operating capacity in the United States is reported as it is delivered to the grid in alternating current (AC). Because of losses associated with converting DC to AC, capacity values reported in AC typically are 10 percent to 30 percent lower than those reported in DC capacity, says EIA. The United States installed 8 GWac of utility-scale solar PV in 2016 and another 3 GWac of small-scale solar capacity. That amount was roughly equivalent to about 14 GWdc capacity, »meaning many of the PV systems installed in 2016 probably used imported panels when adjusted for DC to AC conversion losses.«
Furthermore, EIA outlined that the price for PV modules has fallen by nearly 40 percent since 2012. In 2012, the average module price in the United States was $1.15 per watt ($/Wdc). In 2016, the average price was $0.72/Wdc, based on data collected by EIA. In addition, the global spot price for solar modules continued to decline through 2017, suggesting a further decline in the average US imports price for 2017. At the start of 2017, the global spot price for monocrystalline solar modules were about $0.72/Wdc, and by the last week of December 2017 the spot price was $0.45/Wdc.
According to the recently by the independent nonprofit organization »Solar Foundation« published report »National Solar Jobs Census 2017«, cell and module manufacturing makes up 15 percent of overall solar industry employment in the US, while demand-side sectors (installation, sales and distribution, and project development) make up almost 78 percent.