The solar duties are separate from tariff hikes imposed by the Trump administration starting in July on Chinese imports in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. That strained relations with US allies.
US President Donald Trump approved steep tariffs on solar panel imports in January to protect US producers, triggering an outcry from China, South Korea and even protests from the US solar industry.
A spokesperson from China's Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday that the tariffs are suspected of violating WTO rules and therefore undermining the WTO's authority.
"As the USA violations have severely distorted the global market for products like photovoltaics and seriously damaged China's trade interests, China's use of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism is a necessary measure to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests and maintain multilateral trade rules", the commerce ministry statement said.
Washington took action under the United States 1974 Act in place of the World Trade Organization.
China has tried to portray itself as a defender of the WTO's trade system.
Beijing said the United States measures are suspected of violating trade rules and that it would turn to the WTO's dispute resolution mechanism to protect its interests.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, Beijing wants to determine the legality of U.S. policies, as they harm China's rights and undermine the authority of the WTO. On the same day, Turkey's imposition of tariffs on 266.5 million dollars of USA goods took effect. There is division and confusion over how China should respond to Trump, with some arguing that Beijing should strike back at American interests but others saying they didn't know what could be done.