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Commerce Department Decision Imperils U.S. Clean Energy Progress

Monday, Mar 28 2022

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Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the U.S. Department of Commerce initiated an investigation for circumvention tariffs on solar products from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. This decision comes just four months after the agency rejected a similar petition that increased solar prices and threatened the livelihoods of tens of thousands of workers.

Following is a statement by Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision:

“Contrary to the Biden Administration’s goal of growing clean energy in the U.S., the Department of Commerce has decided to consider up to 50%-250% tariffs on the solar industry in the United States. This misstep will have a devastating impact on the U.S. solar market at a time when solar prices are climbing, and project delays and cancellations are adding up.

“The solar industry is still reeling from a similar tariff petition that surfaced last year. The mere threat of tariffs altered the industry’s growth trajectory and is one of the reasons why we’re now expecting a 19% decline in near-term solar forecasts. Taking up this case will have a chilling effect on the solar industry.

“Today’s decision responds to the self-interests of one company and will lead to more market volatility and job losses. Additional tariffs will cause the loss of 70,000 American jobs, including 11,000 manufacturing jobs. According to Wood Mackenzie, solar deployment will crater by 16 Gigawatts annually if tariffs are imposed. That’s two-thirds of all the solar energy installed last year. And over the next four years, U.S. carbon emissions will increase by 61 million metric tons.

“President Biden has been clear that the best way to grow domestic manufacturing is to create a policy environment that encourages private investment. This decision directly contradicts that goal—more tariffs are not the answer.

“Solar prices are increasing, federal climate legislation is stalled, and trade restrictions are now compounding. Commerce should quickly end this investigation to mitigate the harm it will cause for American workers and our nation’s efforts to tackle climate change.”

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About SEIA®: 

The Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA) is leading the transformation to a clean energy economy, creating the framework for solar to achieve 30% of U.S. electricity generation by 2030. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies and other strategic partners to fight for policies that create jobs in every community and shape fair market rules that promote competition and the growth of reliable, low-cost solar power. Founded in 1974, SEIA is the national trade association for the solar and solar + storage industries, building a comprehensive vision for the Solar+ Decade through research, education and advocacy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org and follow @SEIA on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram

Media Contact: 

Morgan Lyons, SEIA's Director of Communications, mlyons@seia.org (202) 556-2872

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