SolarWorld Americas Inc., one of two U.S. solar manufacturers asking President Donald Trump for tariffs on imported panels, says the move could revive a struggling industry. It may also boost the company’s value ahead of a potential sale.
The manufacturer, owned by bankrupt German panel maker SolarWorld, has already invited more than a dozen suitors to submit nonbinding offers for the company. But final bids aren’t due until after Trump decides whether to levy tariffs, according to a spokesman for SolarWorld’s German insolvency administrator.
The push to find a buyer for SolarWorld Americas is the latest wrinkle in a months-long drive for tariffs that’s drawn opposition from most of the U.S. solar industry. SolarWorld and bankrupt Georgia panel maker Suniva Inc. say they desperately need protection from the flood of cheap imports from Asia. Critics argue tariffs would bail out two foreign-owned companies and their creditors at the expense of the U.S. solar industry, which has boomed thanks largely to low-cost panels.
“Reviving manufacturing in the U.S. may be part of their plan, but this is probably just an effort to salvage money,” said Jenny Chase, a Zurich-based analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
The U.S. International Trade Commission recommended in October that Trump impose tariffs of as much as 35 percent on imported panels. The president has until Jan. 26 to decide.