Josephine Aiello LeBeau
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
1700 K Street, NW, Fifth Floor
Washington, D.C. 20006-3817
RE: The tariff classification of an Integrated Solar Panel from an unspecified country of origin.
Dear Ms. LeBeau:
In your letter dated April, 12, 2011, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client Array Converter, Inc.
The item concerned is referred to as an integrated solar panel. It consists of a solar panel with an integrated power modulator. The power modulator is a device that converts the direct current (DC), produced by the solar panel, into a synthetic alternating current (AC). The result is a solar panel that generates AC current.
In use, an array of eight or more integrated solar panels would be used to generate AC power for “grid” consumption. By integrating a power modulator into each individual solar panel, a one-to-one control of the panel is achieved. Conventional solar panels require a remotely installed inverter/power modulator, which would be connected to, and control, multiple solar panels.
You suggested Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheading 8541.40.6020, which provides for “Photosensitive semiconductor devices, including photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made up into panels; light-emitting diodes: Other diodes: Other; Solar cells: Assembled into modules or made up into panels." However, the merchandise subject to this ruling is not simply photovoltaic cells made up into a solar panel, whose function would be to convert light directly into electrical energy without the need for an external source of current. The merchandise subject to this ruling has a power modulator attached, which converts direct current (DC) from the solar panel to synthetic alternating current (AC) for grid consumption. The vast majority of applications of electrical current coming from a solar panel require that the direct current produced by solar panels be converted into alternating current by an inverter. In its condition as imported, the integrated solar panel contains an inverter that converts the direct current produced by the solar panel into alternating current for use by a utility grid. As such, upon importation, the integrated solar panel will be combined with an element, an inverter, that will render the integrated solar panel ready to supply power to an external load. Therefore, subheading 8541.40.6020 is inapplicable.
The applicable subheading for the Integrated Solar Panel will be 8501.61.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Electric motors and generators…: AC generators: Of a output not exceeding 75 kVA.” The general rate of duty will be 2.5%.
Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.
This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).
A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Steven Pollichino at (646) 733-3008.
Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity Specialist Division