Citing a potential loss of 100,000 jobs in the United States and a ten-year horizon to develop the domestic manufacturing industry, Rep. Scott Peters called on Energy Department Secretary Granholm to end tariffs on solar imports.
The dominant story in the US solar industry is the Commerce Department’s investigation into an alleged Chinese circumvention that could result in high tariffs ranging from 50-250% of the cost of polysilicon solar products. About 80% of the US polysilicon supply comes from the four Southeast Asian countries that are expected to host Chinese products evading tariffs.
The investigation had only a chilling effect on the US solar industry, especially at the utility scale. Even before the investigation is officially announcedSOLV Energy CEO George Hershman commented, “the rollout is frozen” due to the unsustainable level of risk placed by the survey.
Congressman Scott Peters of California addressed the issue during the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on April 28, delivering the message to Secretary Jennifer Granholm of the Department of Energy (DOE) .
“This case could cost us 100,000 US solar jobs and jeopardize our shared clean energy goals,” Peters said. “Already 318 projects are canceled or delayed, and if the administration decides to impose tariffs, it could see solar capacity drop 75 GW from the pace needed to meet the president’s solar target.”
Rep. Peters went on to explain that the supply of solar panels is key to reliability in his state of California. Almost all new solar projects are associated with battery energy storage systems in the state, and without panel power, battery storage deployment is also compromised.
Peters added that in September 2021, the DOE released the Solar Futures Study which claimed that the United States needed to deploy an average of 30 GW of solar capacity per year by 2025 to meet the goal of president to have 40% solar power of the nation’s electricity by 2035. The Solar Energy Industries Association said forecasts for 2022 and 2023 are reduced by 46% due to tariff considerations.
“Instead of doubling our solar deployment, we’re cutting it in half.” Representative Scott Peters of California
Rep. Peters then asked the board if the DOE was investigating the potential reliability and climate impacts of the tariffs.
“I share your deep concern about this,” Secretary Granholm said. “As you know, this decision is a jurisdictional decision that belongs to the Department of Commerce.”
“We’re sitting here in the law-making room,” Peters replied. “We have paperwork getting in the way of politics now…it’s the tail wagging the dog.”
Peters said he fully supports the solar industry’s goal of making 50 GW of domestic generation per year by 2030. However, he added, even if the United States adopts the necessary incentives to expand manufacturing and offset imports, it would take five to ten years to expand.
“Investing in long-term manufacturing cannot be an excuse to stop short-term solar deployment,” he said.
Second. Granholm said accelerating domestic manufacturing is a key part of the DOE’s budget request. She agreed with Rep. Peters that short-term deployment goals are also important, but it’s also important for the United States not to purchase circumvented goods or goods that have potential labor ties. work in the Xinjiang region of China. The region is under scrutiny for credible allegations of forced labor by China’s Uyghur population.
“We can talk about an existential crisis,” Peters said, “but we have to act like it’s an existential crisis. The fact that we have these laws that shoot us in the foot and put our planet at risk worries me a lot.
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