Solar Industry Tariffs would lay off American workers, slow industry surge created thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
On Wednesday, May 3, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet joined a group of their colleagues to pen an op-ed in opposition to ending the current pause on tariffs of imported solar panels and cells as the solar industry – and American job creation therein – continues to grow. The Senate is poised to vote on a Republican-backed measure that would reimpose tariffs.
“The U.S. solar industry’s growth has helped create more than 10,000 businesses nationwide, which employ more than 255,000 American workers,” wrote the senators. “The rapid expansion of American solar is also leading to a major reshaping of our energy landscape, helping us as we strive to become fully energy independent.”
The vote, expected Wednesday evening, would repeal the current pause on additional tariffs on solar panel and cell imports from Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia, while the American domestic solar manufacturing can only meet about 15 percent of current solar demand.
“As we work to bolster our manufacturing capabilities here at home, we must temporarily rely on these imported panels to satisfy the industry’s demand and support American solar jobs,” continued the senators. “By voting to pass this misguided resolution, Congress would deal a devastating blow to the American solar industry, which will kill jobs, raise energy costs, and decrease our ability to achieve clean energy independence.”
Read more about the senators’ position via The Hill, and read the op-ed in full here:
America’s Solar Jobs Depend on a Single Vote in the Senate
Last year, a new solar project was installed in the United States every 44 seconds, demonstrating the tremendous demand for solar in our country as we work to transition toward clean, renewable energy. This demand for solar energy also means good-paying, American jobs. The U.S. solar industry’s growth has helped create more than 10,000 businesses nationwide, which employ more than 255,000 American workers.
The rapid expansion of American solar is also leading to a major reshaping of our energy landscape, helping us as we strive to become fully energy independent. The Solar Energy Industries Association anticipates that in the next decade, solar energy will be able to produce 30 percent of all electricity generated in the U.S. This means solar energy will provide us with the ability to bolster our nation’s energy security, continue creating good-paying jobs right here in the United States, and better protect our environment.
Thanks to historic investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, American solar energy is in the middle of a historic boom, and demand for solar panels is only going to increase as we ramp up our transition to clean, American energy. We have an opportunity to continue building on that success and create more jobs. But a vote in the United States Senate is threatening to derail much of the progress we’ve made and kill good-paying American jobs, while threatening our clean energy future.
A Congressional Review Act resolution working its way through the Senate would repeal the current pause on additional tariffs on solar panel and cell imports from Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. Our current domestic solar manufacturing can only meet about 15 percent of demand. As we work to bolster our manufacturing capabilities here at home, we must temporarily rely on these imported panels to satisfy the industry’s demand and support American solar jobs.
These imported panels and cells are central components for nearly all solar installations. New costly tariffs would make prices skyrocket, keeping them out of reach for American companies and destroying our ability to meet the domestic demand that is only increasing as we pursue our climate goals. This will devastate the American solar industry and the hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs it supports in the U.S. – from installation to research to construction.
By voting to pass this misguided resolution, Congress would deal a devastating blow to the American solar industry, which will kill jobs, raise energy costs, and decrease our ability to achieve clean energy independence.
Supporting the American solar industry and domestic manufacturing are not mutually exclusive goals. In fact, both goals are closely related and depend on ensuring high tariffs don’t go into effect right away: Without imported solar cells, American solar panel manufacturers can’t make panels.
Without imported panels, American solar companies will have to lay off workers and cancel projects as a result of not having panels to install, all because domestic manufacturing can’t yet meet demand. The current pause on additional tariffs is a bridge to help U.S. manufacturing have time to meet this demand.
We all agree on the need for a robust domestic solar manufacturing base that creates American manufacturing jobs and makes us competitive with China. And we have been fighting to make that happen. Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help greatly ramp up our solar manufacturing here at home.
By continuing to pause these tariffs, we can allow many of the provisions already passed into law to take effect and supercharge our domestic manufacturing capabilities. This will give our domestic solar manufacturing enough time to utilize new tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act and ramp up production without jeopardizing the solar industry and thousands of American jobs. That’s why we need to keep this pause in effect and defeat this misguided resolution.
Make no mistake: this upcoming resolution will kill jobs, raise energy costs, weaken our nation’s energy security, and make us less competitive with China. We cannot destroy the American solar industry because of a misguided resolution that would not, in fact, protect manufacturing jobs. Without a healthy solar market, there is no domestic manufacturing. We urge our colleagues to vote against this resolution and allow us to save good-paying American jobs.
Op-ed by U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper