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South Korean Solar Companies Take Advantage of Chinese Reticence in U.S. Market

An escalating solar trade war may be leaving most Chinese companies reticent to invest in the lucrative American market, but two South Korean corporations are launching large-scale U.S. -based operations.

In May this year, The US Department of Commerce (DOC) investigated Chinese companies for ‘dumping’ Chinese solar panels into the US market by selling them below cost price. The DOC subsequently enforced a minimum 31%, 90-day retroactive tariff on imports of solar panels from China.

Despite this, both Nexelon and Hanwha from South Korea are entering the American market, hoping to capture a large share of America’s vaunted utility-scale pipeline. In recent days, both companies have moved aggressively to create a presence on American soil.

Nexelon, an ingot and solar wafer manufacturer, announced that it was opening a U.S. headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, as part of a consortium that will bring 400 MW of solar power to Texas and a host of long-term jobs to many corners of the state. The deal with San Antonio municipal utility CPS Energy also includes the construction of a 200-MW manufacturing facility.

South Korean conglomerate Hanwha has also announced that it was starting a U.S. -based division that will finance and build solar projects in the United States. According to Bloomberg News, the new unit will fold in California-based Solar Monkey. Hanwha purchased a stake in the company in 2011. Now, the new U.S. division will allow Hanwha to sell panels made by its Hanwha SolarOne unit to service a pipeline estimated at over 1 GW.

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