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April2019
U.S. trade authorities to investigate Jinko, LONGi, REC cellsTags£ºTrump  PV enterprise  PV market 

Since President Trump  took office the U.S. solar industry has endured 30% global tariffs on solar cells modules under Section 201, global tariffs on steel aluminum under Section 232, tariffs on Chinese inverters under Section 301 tariffs on Chinese solar cells, also under Section 301.

These are in addition to the anti-dumping countervailing duties on solar cells modules from China Taiwan launched in two separate rounds in 2012 2014 under the Obama Administration.

today the U.S. International Trade Commission has launched yet another trade investigation, this time narrowly focused on three cell module makers – JinkoSolar, LONGi REC Group* – based on a claim by Hanwha Q Cells that these companies have infringed on the company’s specific form of Passivated Emitter Rear Cell (PERC) design.

This follows on the filing of lawsuits by Hanwha Q Cells against the three manufactureres in courts in both Delaware Germany.

The ITC investigation is being launched under the auspices of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, which governs both patent infringement unfair trade. Through this investigation, Hanwha Q Cells is seeking to bar these companies from importing their PERC cells into the U.S. market.

Q.ANTUM vs. PERC

The central claim that will be investigated is whether or not Jinko, LONGi REC infringed on Q.Cells passivation technology, which is part of its Q.ANTUM cell design.

Q.ANTUM is a form of PERC, which has become the most widely adopted high-efficiency cell design globally. PERC can boost cell efficiencies at a minimal cost without having to overhaul the entire cell architecture, as is required with Interdigitated Back Contact (IBC) other high-efficiency designs.

Hanwha has long maintained that Q.ANTUM is substantially different from other PERC designs, but there is significant disagreement about the patents in question under which Hanwha is filing the suits investigation. LONGi has stated that its cells are not subject to these patents, which they say are based on Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) processes, as they use a Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) process for passivation.

However, Hanwha maintains that the patent covers both ALD PECVD processes, that the resulting cell design is what is covered.

pv magazine had not yet received responses from LONGi, Jinko or REC Solar regarding this latest development by the time this article was published, we will publish additional information responses from these companies as they become available.

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