Janet Takushi
Senior Consultant
Livingston International, Inc.
670 Young Street
Tonawanda, NY 14150

RE: The tariff classification of solar module from an undisclosed country of origin

Dear Ms. Takushi:

In your letter dated July 14, 2014, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client, Solarmass Energy Group, Ltd.

The merchandise in question is described as a Solar Surface, which is the solar generating component of the Ergosun™ Solar Roof Tile. This device consists of an ultra-thin solar cell membrane attached to a connector board and insulating poly-vinyl fluoride (Tedlar®) backing. The attached connector board contains a diode that prevents back feed and overheating, and male and female connector plugs which are used to connect multiple solar panels together to generate DC electricity. Solarmass Energy Group will import the assembled solar cells which will be applied to roof tiles in the United States and sold to consumers and businesses.

You suggested subheading 8541.40.6020, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), 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 diode that is mounted only to the female socket to prevent back feed is a blocking diode. Explanatory Note (EN) 85.41 (B) (i) states that heading 8541 does not cover panels or modules equipped with elements, however simple, i.e. diodes to control the direction of the current. As such, since the Solar Surface solar module does contain diodes, classification under subheading HTSUS 8541.40.6020 is inapplicable.

The applicable subheading for the Solar Surface will be 8501.31.8000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Electric motors and generators (excluding generating sets): other DC motors; DC generators: of an output not exceeding 750 W: generators…” The general rate of duty is 2.5% ad valorem.

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

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 Karl Moosbrugger at


Gwenn Klein Kirschner
National Commodity Specialist Division