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Anonymous Solar Tariff Petitions Threaten the American Solar Economy

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On August 16, an anonymous group of companies filed tariff circumvention petitions with the U.S. Department of Commerce. If allowed to proceed, these anonymous petitions would cripple the U.S. solar industry and ruin America’s plans to tackle climate change. The U.S. Department of Commerce must exercise its authority to reject these petitions.

Key Facts

  • The petitioners have asked Commerce to impose tariffs ranging from 50% to 250% on most solar cell and panel imports from Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand as soon as September 30.
  • These three countries account for 80% of all crystalline silicon solar module imports in the first half of 2021 and 59% of total U.S. module supply
  • With the right policies in place, solar can address the climate crisis, expand U.S. manufacturing and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Much of that potential to tackle climate change would be nullified by expanding the AD/CVD tariffs.

Tariffs Would Increase Energy Costs, Cripple Deployment and Put Climate Goals at Risk

  • Companies are being forced to use existing module inventory to make up for import shortfalls. That alone is raising the costs of projects by 4% to 20%.
  • Baseline U.S. solar installation forecasts are 30 GW in 2022 and 32 GW in 2023. Without supply from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, installations are likely to fall to less than 26 GW in 2022 and 18 GW in 2023, resulting in a total loss of 18 GW over the next two years.
  • Growing the U.S. solar supply chain is of critical importance, but tariffs are not the solution. The industry needs long-term policy that creates demand certainty and incentivizes new and expanded manufacturing investments.
  • Over the next 15 years, these tariffs would not only disrupt near-term deployment, they would add significant costs that would be passed on to all electricity customers. Those costs could add up to over $3 billion.
  • If deployment drops 15-40% over the next two years, tens of thousands of skilled downstream workers will have to leave the industry.
  • The lost solar deployment due to these tariffs would result in more than 150 million metric tons of CO2 added to the atmosphere over the next 9 years during a critical period to reduce emissions and solve the climate crisis.
  • With these tariffs in place, it would be nearly impossible to catch up and reach the Biden Administration’s goal for solar to account for 40% of electricity generation by 2030, and to decarbonize the U.S. electricity sector.

The anonymous solar tariff petitions could devastate the U.S. solar industry and the 250,000 jobs it supports. Commerce has the authority to reject these meritless petitions. Accordingly, Commerce should decline to initiate these meritless circumvention investigations that will cause needless harm to the American solar economy.

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