Broad, Bipartisan Opposition to Solar Tariff as ITC Hears Trade Case

Solar Novus Today

8/16/17

Led by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the solar industry, elected officials and US trading partners argued against Suniva’s bid for trade relief at a packed International Trade Commission (ITC) hearing. Hundreds of American solar workers concerned about their jobs attended the hearing.

SEIA, on behalf of its 1,000 member companies in the solar industry, have vigorously opposed the petition. Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Clearview Energy Partners have said tariffs will double the cost of solar panels and will cause the U.S. to lose 88,000 jobs next year alone, more than one-third of the industry’s entire workforce. A coalition of conservative groups that support free trade have joined SEIA in opposition to solar tariffs.

At the hearing, those opposed to Suniva’s petition included its own utility commissioner from Georgia, and state lawmakers from Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina and Virginia. They urged the ITC not to apply tariffs on imported solar cells, saying it would slam one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S., hurt blue-collar workers gaining from new jobs in rural communities and raise electricity costs on the growing number of consumers benefiting from falling solar prices.

A bipartisan group of 69 members of Congress Friday sent the ITC a letter urging the commission to reject the request for tariffs.

It was the first ITC hearing in the case ahead of a decision by Sept. 22. SEIA, arguing against tariffs Suniva and SolarWold are seeking, told the commission that the companies’ failure in the US had “nothing to do with imports.”

“What was clear today is that two foreign-owned companies seeking US government subsidies who disingenuously claim to represent solar manufacturing were on one side and the broader unified solar industry united on the other,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “We hope the ITC sees the petition for what it is, and doesn’t put the interests of two companies that made bad business decisions above those of American workers.”

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