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The US Solar Energy Industries Association has this week unveiled its blueprint plan to put America first on economic growth, jobs, manufacturing, and national security, while maintaining the solar industry's booming growth.

Clean Power

SEIA Provides President Trump With Blueprint For America First Solar Success

The US Solar Energy Industries Association has this week unveiled its blueprint plan to put America first on economic growth, jobs, manufacturing, and national security, while maintaining the solar industry’s booming growth.

The US Solar Energy Industries Association has this week unveiled its blueprint plan to put America first on economic growth, jobs, manufacturing, and national security, while maintaining the solar industry’s booming growth.

Earlier this week the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) published its America First Plan for Solar Energy which outlines six steps that President Trump can take to ensure that the country’s solar industry continues its impressive growth rates, while also adhering to the President’s protectionist desires to ensure America remains strong on local manufacturing, jobs, economy, and national security.

The first step of the SEIA’s plan is, unsurprisingly, rejecting solar tariffs. The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled in favor of a Section 201 trade case presented by solar companies Suniva and SolarWorld which seeks to implement solar tariffs and price floors on imported solar technologies in an effort to prop-up failing US-based companies. In early November the ITC commissioners filed their recommendations to the President, who now has until January 26 to hand down the final verdict on whether or not he will implement tariffs or not — a verdict we all assume will end in tariffs, following his Oval Office outburst earlier this year in which he demanded of aides, “I want tariffs. Bring me some tariffs.”

However, in presenting its six-step plan “for creating a strong and far-reaching solar industry that includes manufacturing and strengthens the supply chain,” the SEIA leads off with: Step 1: Say No to Solar Tariffs — These taxes on industry will raise electricity prices, kill jobs and bring an American economic success story to a halt.

It even goes so far as to refer to Trump’s unofficial advisers, saying that “Generals, conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), personalities as diverse as Sean Hannity, major retailers, small businesses, utilities, and others have joined together to urge President Trump to stand with American workers by opposing tariffs on solar parts.”

“Solar tariffs would be another destructive exercise that benefits a handful of Suniva and SolarWorld investors at the expense of everyone else,” they quote The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board as saying.

“Tariffs would jeopardize our economy, our national security and our workers,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “Our plan is meant to help the President address the issues in this case, put America First, and say yes to strong economic and manufacturing growth. Rather than throw a highly successful US industry in reverse for no good reason, this plan will create more jobs and investment in America.”

The five other steps to their solar plan include:

  • Step 2: Support our Military and National Security — Take a strong stand for the military by keeping the costs of solar down. Our fighting forces need solar in the battlefield and use solar on domestic bases today. Solar helps ensure mission success.
  • Step 3: Ensure US Energy Dominance — Do not cede world leadership in solar power production. Listen to a broad but unified coalition of energy producers, conservative groups and American businesses large and small, which all see solar investment as giving them an edge.
  • Step 4: Fight for American Workers and Don’t Turn Off This Economic Engine — Today, solar is a force in America’s economy. Keep the booming solar market going strong and offering well-paying jobs.
  • Step 5: Don’t Bail Out Failed Foreign Firms — You will be helping millionaires in China and Germany, and investors in Qatar and Europe, rather than the American families that have built this booming American industry. Don’t let two foreign-based, bankrupt companies manipulate U.S. law for a bailout.
  • Step 6: An America First Plan for Solar — If you believe those firms need assistance, create a plan that would support further investment in U.S. manufacturing, not just bail out foreign investors. Say no to traditional tariffs and quotas, and use American innovation — such as an import license fee that will get hundreds of millions of dollars in direct investment help to U.S. companies and our economy.

The SEIA has presented its import fee before, to the ITC during the petition phase of the Section 201 trade case, outlining a way that import license fees on imported crystalline silicon PV (CSPV) panels instead of tariffs would better serve US solar manufacturers.

“It is foolish to think that tariffs will create jobs and will create more domestic manufacturing,” said Abigail Ross Hopperat a press event in Washington on Tuesday. “If tariffs are put in place, we’re going to lose more solar manufacturing jobs than we gain.”

“We think with our import license fee that there will be investment here in the United States in cell and module manufacturing, and that will continue to grow.”

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