A commercial dispute, which is shaking the American solar energy industry, has overshadowed four Innergex projects in Hawaii. The Quebec energy producer must put them on hold for an indefinite period.
The US Commerce Department’s decision to initiate an anti-circumvention investigation into imports of solar panels from Southeast Asian countries has sent shockwaves through the industry. The investigation could result in the imposition of retroactive tariffs on silicon photovoltaic modules.
The Longueuil company was thus forced to “pause” four projects in the state of Hawaii on April 25. Together, the four projects have an estimated power of 80 megawatts (MW). “We decided to put these projects on hold to have better visibility on the possible penalties or not that the American government will impose”, said the president and chief executive officer, Michel Letellier, during the virtual meeting. of the company on Tuesday.
Innergex also reports having received a “force majeure notice” from its battery supplier who is experiencing difficulties with its supply chain.
The timelines for the four projects are currently being revised. One was under construction (30 MW) and the other three were not yet at the construction stage (total of 50 MW).
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the four projects, Mr. Letellier said he was optimistic that they would come to fruition. The company is currently in discussions to obtain a better price for the electricity they will produce in order to take into account supply chain disruptions and possible tariffs imposed by the United States government.
“Hawaii really needs this kind of project. Hawaii has some pretty aggressive plans to get rid of coal and diesel, which is used primarily to generate electricity. It’s costing them a fortune. So, we think that the revised proposal that we are going to propose to them should be acceptable. »
The Commerce Department is investigating whether Chinese companies avoided tariffs by exporting their panels from Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
The decision by President Joe Biden’s administration has been strongly denounced by the solar energy industry, which points out that the investigation is slowing down the energy transition. Installing solar panels is already almost 57% more expensive in the United States than in Germany, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. The European Union abolished tariffs on Chinese solar panels in 2018.
Outside of Hawaii, other projects are well underway, however, the company points out. A total of 11 projects are at “advanced stage”, with a total installed capacity of 508 MW.
In the first quarter, Innergex disclosed a net loss of 34.9 million, compared to a net loss of 217.9 million. Outages related to the 2021 winter storm in Texas account for the larger loss last year.
The company’s revenue, for its part, increased by 40% to 188.7 million. Proportional production was 95% of long term average (LTA) production.
The stock was up 14 cents, or 0.86%, at $16.34 at the close of the Toronto Stock Exchange.