The US solar industry is facing new challenges resulting from the trade case against imported solar power and tax reform issues that could drastically impact the growth of solar power in the US. But the industry is pushing back with a new blueprint to keep its growth steady and protect the more than quarter of a million people the industry employs.
To that end, today (Dec. 5), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) introduced its America First Plan for Solar Energy blueprint support the economic growth, jobs, manufacturing and national security that solar power and renewable energy are creating in the county. The blueprint introduced six steps President Donald Trump (R) can take to continue the solar industry’s growth.
First it calls for the President to reject tariffs on imported silicon solar panels and cells, which he has the power to do in the ongoing Suniva trade case. Trump has until Jan. 26 to choose whether or not to impose tariffs. “Tariffs would jeopardize our economy, our national security and our workers,” explained Abigail Ross Hopper, CEO of SEIA.
Indeed, in a new GTM Research report out today as well, US PV System Pricing H2 2017: Forecasts and Breakdowns, the firm stated “The trade case just put $1/W solar pricing back out of reach.” Still, if Trump chose not to impose the tariffs solar could reach that cost level.
The blueprint urged Trump to take other actions. Among them the blueprint called on the President to support the military and national security with stable energy prices and to use solar to help achieve mission success. It called on Trump to ensure US energy dominance in solar power by listening to energy producers and American businesses.
The blueprint also called on Trump to fight for the more than 260,000 Americans working in solar power, including the more than 23,000 military veterans who are employed by the industry.
Related to the trade case SEIA called on Trump to Make America first in two ways related to the solar industry. First by not bailing out Suniva and SolarWorld with the tariffs, which produced solar panels in the US, but were owned by foreign companies in China and Germany. If he does choose to impose tariffs, the industry suggested imposing an import license fee to collect money from overseas manufacturers while injecting hundreds of millions of dollars into US companies.
“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,” Hopper said.
If imposed, the tariffs would increase the cost of solar power, which would slow—if not stop—the growth of solar across the country. However, if Trump chooses not to impose tariffs, the amount of installed solar power would triple by 2022, according to GTM Research and SEIA’s latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report.Tweet