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Trump Brings More Wind, Less Sun to the Renewables Industry

China 2820 Energy - Refined Oil 195 Energy - Renewables 157 Tariffs 1741 U.S. 5046

U.S. renewable energy equipment imports have had a tough time since the elections in November. Imports of solar power equipment fell 29.8% in December on year earlier, Panjiva data shows, to hit their lowest since July 2015. That meant that total shipments for the fourth quarter were 0.7% lower than a year earlier.

The drop likely reflects the anticipation of the energy policies of the Trump administration. These are focussed on fossil energy and a move to becoming a net energy exporter, as discussed in Panjiva research of December 16.

Wind turbine imports have done better, with a 4.3% increase in December, though the fourth quarter was still 45.2% lower than the same period a year earlier. Taken in aggregate 2016 saw the import of both wind and solar equipment rise 7.5% vs. a year earlier, down from a peak, rolling 12 month average of 15.4% in October.

NEVER MIND PEAK OIL, WHAT ABOUT PEAK SOLAR?

Lower panel combines solar and wind imports Source: Panjiva

Ironically China made something of ac omeback during December. Exports to the U.S. jumped 85.1% on November and accounted for 38.0% of  imports by the U.S. that month. That’s the highest since May 2016. That may have followed an International Court of Trade order for the Commerce Department to review its May 2012 tariff decision. Imports from South Korea also increased, with shipments from Malaysia falling to their lowest since May 2015.

CHINA GRABS LARGER SHARE OF DIMMER U.S. IMPORTS

Data segmented by country of origin Source: Panjiva

Despite the decline in imports from Malaysia, Flextronics increased its U.S. bound imports by 42.9% on a year earlier, bringing the fourth quarter to 4.8% higher than a year earlier. Hanwha-Q Cells remained the largest exporter to the U.S for a third month, largely as the result of previous largest producers from China – Jinko Solar and Trina Solar – largely exiting the market. Jinko’s exports to the U.S. fell 90.2% in the fourth quarter on a year earlier, while Trina’s only fell 50.9% as a result of setting up operations in Vietnam.

FLEXTRONICS STEPS UP AS OTHERS WITHDRAW

Data segmented by company name including known subsidiaries Source: Panjiva

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