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Customs detain shipment of solar modules under UFLPA – pv magazine International

Customs and Border Patrol held a shipment from an unnamed supplier of Tier 1 solar modules until the seller provided documentation showing the source of quartzite, the raw material for making polysilicon.

According to a recent industry memo from ROTH Capital Partners Managing Director Phil Shen, US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has detained a large shipment of material from a hitherto unnamed Tier 1 solar module supplier. .

According to the note, the detained shipment is being held until the seller provides documentation indicating the source of the quartzite, the raw material for the manufacture of polysilicon, although details apart from the seized material and confirmation of the seizure. are rare, as is usually the case with CBP. commercial application. The proceeds were seized under the enforcement of the recently enacted Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Law (UFLPA).

The issue of quartzite documentation is particularly tricky, as ROTH shares that to its knowledge, none of the module vendors have documentation for quartzite, and that two of the major vendors, Wacker and Hemlock Semiconductor, currently have difficult to provide this documentation. information. It is possible that this is information that companies could provide, but it would take time and jeopardize further shipments to the United States.

In response to the seizure, Hemlock Semiconductor issued the following statement:

“To ensure our long-standing commitment to a resilient and environmentally sustainable solar supply chain, Hemlock Semiconductor sources metallurgical-grade silicon from suppliers using quartz mined from North and South American sources. Materials from ethical and traceable suppliers are essential to the production of our hyper-pure polysilicon. We are compliant with CBP requirements and work closely with our partners to provide material manifest and proof of supply chain security documentation.

Adopted in December 2021, the UFLPA seeks to ban imports of all products from Xinjiang unless it is determined that the products are not linked to the forced labor of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China. Xinjiang is home to 50% of the world’s supply of polysilicon, an essential material in conventional solar modules, and there are fears that implementing UFLPA could severely disrupt what has already become a tight solar supply chain.

Although about half of the world’s polysilicon does not come from Xinjiang, it is difficult to determine where each manufacturer gets all of its polysilicon from, and there could be a risk of entire factories being “contaminated” with a relatively weak mixture. of Chinese polysilicon. in an otherwise non-Chinese blend.

While the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans’ June 30 strategy to prevent the importation of goods extracted or produced by forced labor under the UFLPA was initially considered the best case scenario for the solar industry, along with other companies thought to be at risk and not on the import ban list, this detention casts a shadow over that notion.

NOTE: This article was originally published on 06/30/2022 with inaccuracies regarding the held shipment. Due to technical difficulties, the article has been republished. We apologize for the error.

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