A group of 409 clean energy business leaders organized by independent environmental advocacy group E2 has penned a letter to US President Donald Trump opposing his recent decision to impose a 30% tariff on all imported solar cells and modules, warning that the move has the potential to eliminate almost 90,000 American jobs.
As the fallout from Donald Trump’s decision to impose a 30% tariff on all imported solar cells and modules continues to be revealed, a growing consensus reveals deep uncertainty about the damaging effects the move will have on the country’s solar industry and highlights divisions even within Donald Trump’s own Republican Party. According to The Washington Post on Wednesday, “at least half a dozen Republican senators condemned Trump’s decision … exposing GOP divisions over international trade that threaten the uneasy alliance between the president and lawmakers of his own party.”
The increasing concern over Trump’s tariff decision was further highlighted on Wednesday with the publication of a letter to the President signed by 409 clean energy business leaders from around the country opposing the tariff decision.
“As business leaders working to ensure there are more good-paying jobs for Americans in innovative, globally-competitive industries, E2’s members urge you to not levy further tariffs on foreign-made solar panels,” the letter states, adding that “Such an action would cause our domestic solar industry to retract, and has the potential to eliminate nearly 90,000 American jobs, according to projections from the solar industry.”
The letter, which was organized by environmental advocacy group E2, goes on to say that, “If you reject a tariff, it would protect the more than 374,000 Americans who work in the solar industry across the country — the clear majority of which work as installers, technicians and salespeople.”
Already it is believed that the imposition of this tariff — 30% on all imported solar cells and modules in the first year, decreasing by 5% each of the four years the relief is in effect, and excluding the first 2.5 GW (gigawatts) of cells — will cut an estimated 23,000 jobs in America this year alone. Further, GTM Research analysis has predicted that the tariff will result in an 11% decrease in US solar installations over the next 5 years, a reduction of around 7.6 GW between 2018 and 2022.
“While the industry has made great strides and the market continues to mature, make no doubt that the short-term ramifications from this decision will cost tens of thousands of American jobs,” said Jon Powers, former chief sustainability officer at White House CEQ and Co-Founder of CleanCapital. “The workers developing and building new solar energy systems will bear the greatest immediate impact as projects in the development pipeline will either be delayed or eliminated entirely due to this short-sighted policy.”