Major Businesses Call on International Trade Commission to Reconsider Solar Tariff
October 25, 2017 /3BL Media/ - In a letter sent today, major businesses are calling on the head of the International Trade Commission to reconsider its recommendation to impose a tariff or trade restrictions on imported solar products, citing the potential impacts on U.S. businesses and homeowners.
“As major businesses in the U.S. economy, we oppose the recommendation of trade restrictions by the International Trade Commission that would increase costs and slow U.S. deployment of solar energy,” the businesses wrote in a letter to Chairman Rhonda Schmidtlein and Vice Chairman David Johanson and commissioners Irving Williamson and Meredith Broadbent.
The letter signatories are members of the Ceres BICEP Network, a powerful network of influential businesses that advocate for stronger climate and clean energy policies at the state and federal level in the U.S. Their call comes as the solar power manufacturer Suniva is requesting a 40-cent per watt tariff on solar cells and a 78-cent per watt price floor on modules.
As the letter notes, the U.S. solar industry employs about 260,000 Americans. Of that, only about 2,000 are manufacturing jobs, while more than half of the jobs are responsible for installing solar panels. It is estimated that a 40-cent per watt tariff on solar cells and a 78-cent per watt price floor on modules, as called for by Suniva, would result in about 88,000 lost jobs.
Beyond jobs, increased solar prices would hinder businesses’ and homeowners’ ability to purchase solar power. Businesses, in particular, committed to the use of renewable energy rely on the availability of solar infrastructure to achieve their sustainability goals. Nearly half of the companies in the Fortune 500 have set targets to reduce greenhouse gases, improve energy efficiency, and/or increase renewable energy sourcing.
“Restricting solar imports would decrease our nation’s overall energy security and increase solar installation costs for businesses and homeowners,” said Anne Kelly, senior director of policy and the BICEP Network at Ceres. “Instead of pursuing potentially harmful trade restrictions, the U.S. government should adopt policies that encourage innovation and create jobs.”
The commissioners will vote on the solar tariff recommendation on Oct. 31, and must submit its final recommendation to President Donald Trump by Nov. 13. The president has up to 60 days to make a decision on whether to act on that recommendation.
Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. For more information, visit www.ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.