Today, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) found that U.S.-based solar panel manufacturers have been injured by imported solar panels. This decision stems from a petition brought under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 by a bankrupt U.S. solar manufacturer with a Chinese majority owner. The ITC will now have until November 13th to make a remedy recommendation to the President.
The U.S. solar industry employs more than 260,000 Americans – including 5,000 in Colorado. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) estimates these trade penalties would put one-third of solar industry employees out of work. That’s 88,000 Americans, including 2,000 Colorado, jobs that would be lost if the remedy recommended by the petitioners is ultimately implemented by the President.
Section 201 is a rarely-used provision that has not been used since 2002, when the Bush Administration imposed a 30% tariff on steel imports. The tariffs were ultimately dropped 18 months later because of the loss of 200,000 jobs in U.S. steel-consuming industries.
Paul Spencer, CEC’s Chief Executive Offer and Founder, made the following statement in response to today’s finding:
“Clean Energy Collective is disappointed in the ITC’s finding that imported solar panels have harmed U.S. solar manufacturers, despite a lack of evidence and no plan by the petitioners to become competitive in the future. This misguided petition by a bankrupt, Chinese-owned company has the potential to stop Colorado’s and the Nation’s solar industry dead in its tracks.
The trade barriers proposed would needlessly make solar more expensive at a time when we are seeing record low prices that make solar cheaper for consumers and provide ever-increasing benefits for the global environment. We can all support cheaper electricity and cleaner air. Cheap solar power helps lower electricity prices for all customers, whether participating directly in solar or not. This low-cost, renewable power will allow consumers to keep more of their money in their pockets, all while improving our local air quality.
With more than 260,000 American jobs in solar, it is of vital importance for the livelihood of these hard-working women and men that we do not artificially inflate the price of solar. Companies such as Clean Energy Collective are a vital part of Colorado’s economy. The solar industry employs more than 5,000 Coloradans and we need our elected leaders and economic development professionals to stand with the solar industry and the greater public in opposition to these trade barriers that will ultimately cost the Colorado and National economy good-paying, 21st century jobs, while inflating electricity prices and further polluting our local environment.”
If you are a journalist and would like more context about this issue, CEC is happy to be a resource. Please contact Tom Hunt at (720) 360-3037 or firstname.lastname@example.org.