19 Apr 2023

Clean Energy Trades Unite Against Harmful Retroactive Solar Tariff Threat

19 Apr 2023  by evwind   

Last year, one small company initiated a tariff investigation that wreaked havoc on the U.S. solar and storage industry and caused widespread project cancellations and delays. To mitigate further damage to the solar and storage industry and to create a bridge for domestic manufacturers to ramp up production capacity, President Biden issued a two-year pause on the enforcement of any tariffs in the case.

Some lawmakers are now attempting to use the Congressional Review Act to reverse the president’s actions, undermining the positive impact of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

“A handful of lawmakers are toying with the fate of the U.S. solar and storage industry as they threaten $1 billion in retroactive tariffs,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “Businesses are investing in domestic manufacturing, but reintroducing ineffective tariffs at this stage will simply be a tax on American solar businesses, harming the market and dampening demand for American products. These misguided actions will echo throughout the clean energy industry for years to come.”

If the CRA passes, SEIA projects that 4 gigawatts of planned solar projects will get canceled, which is 14% of the solar industry’s anticipated deployment in 2023 and a loss of $4.2 billion in private clean energy investments. This would eliminate 30,000 jobs in the solar industry, including 4,000 manufacturing jobs.

“This massively disruptive resolution would have a devastating impact on the U.S. solar industry,” said Gregory Wetstone, ACORE’s President and CEO. “The imposition of retroactive solar tariffs will create needless market uncertainty, further hampering our ability to meet America’s critical decarbonization goals. President Biden’s two-year tariff moratorium is a practical compromise that allows continued access to imported components while domestic manufacturing ramps up.”

The last 12 years of tariffs has not led to new American manufacturing. However, new manufacturing investments announced since the passage of the IRA will bring America’s solar module manufacturing capacity to more than 47 gigawatts, which is five times more than the United States could produce in 2022.

“In the last nine months, American companies have announced the construction of twenty-six new domestic solar manufacturing facilities in regions across the nation. The temporary two year pause in tariffs is working to jump-start domestic solar manufacturing, but it will take years to develop a resilient supply chain with the capacity to completely satisfy domestic demand,” said Jason Grumet, ACP’s CEO. “If Congress reverses course and imposes retroactive tariffs on American companies, solar deployment will grind to a halt, risking 30,000 American jobs. We urge Members of Congress to oppose this resolution as we work toward our shared vision of a robust made-in-America solar industry.”

Other signatories on the letter include Advanced Energy United, Coalition for Community Solar Access, E2, Edison Electric Institute, Clean Energy Buyers Association and Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

This letter comes a day after 417 solar and storage companies urged members of Congress to oppose the CRA, and as members of Congress highlight their sustainability actions in honor of Earth Week. If lawmakers allow this case to move forward, the lost solar deployment is equivalent to adding 24 million metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere.

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