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U.S. Solar Industry Writes Letter: “Anonymous Tariff Proposal Could Devastate U.S. Clean Energy and Climate Progress”

SEIA estimates the proposed 50-250% duties would cause 18 GW of lost solar deployment, equivalent to all U.S. solar capacity installed prior to 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Steep duties proposed by an anonymous group of petitioners would devastate thousands of U.S. solar companies and cause the industry to miss out on 18 gigawatts (GW) of solar deployment by 2023, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

The petitions now before the Department of Commerce would create 50–250% duties on imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) panels and cells from Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand. They allege some companies are circumventing antidumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD) imposed on China in 2012. The three targeted countries account for 80% of all panel imports to the United States.

Over 190 of America’s leading solar companies sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo outlining the catastrophic impact these duties would have on the livelihoods of 231,000 U.S. solar workers and on the nation’s efforts to fight climate change. The letter signers include manufacturers, developers, installers, financiers and service providers from across the solar supply chain.

“I cannot overstate the dire threat that these reckless petitions are imposing on hundreds of thousands of American families,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA president and CEO. “The anonymous petitioners are asking the Department of Commerce to not only misinterpret U.S. law, but also overturn a decade of department decisions in solar trade cases, all to benefit a few anonymous petitioners at the expense of the entire U.S. solar economy. We urge Commerce to use its discretion and dismiss these frivolous petitions.”

The 18 GW of lost solar deployment is equivalent to the amount of solar capacity installed in all of U.S. history prior to 2015.

Wood Mackenzie forecasts the U.S. will install roughly 30 GW of new solar capacity in 2022 and 33 GW in 2023. The forecasts, which appear in the Solar Market Insight Q3 2021 report, are already well short of the pace needed to reach President Biden’s decarbonization target for 2035 and implementing these duties would be a catastrophic blow to any chance of addressing climate change. The report also notes that recent trade actions, like the AD/CVD circumvention petition could exacerbate supply chain constraints and increase solar prices.

The letter makes the case that the anonymous solar tariff petitions are based on a false premise that manufacturing done in Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand is “minor and insignificant,” and that cells and panels are predominantly made in China and passed through the targeted nations. In fact, significant work is done in Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. Under the law they cannot be subject to AD/CVD circumvention claims and should be dismissed by the Department of Commerce.

About SEIA®: The Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA) is leading the transformation to a clean energy economy, creating the framework for solar to achieve 20% 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 TwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.

 
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