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Solar industry group: Biden administration’s tariff probe will cut planned installations in half

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The top solar energy industry group said Wednesday that it has cut its forecasts for deployment by nearly 50 percent, blaming the Biden administration’s decision to investigate Asian manufacturers amid allegations of dodging tariffs.  

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said Wednesday it was dropping its installation projections 46 percent as a result of the probe. This would equate to the loss of 24 gigawatts worth of planned capacity, more than the industry has installed all last year. 

The Commerce Department in late March announced it would investigate whether solar panels manufactured In Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand were part of an attempt by Chinese manufacturers to skirt tariffs.

The department announced the probe in response to a petition by solar manufacturer Auxin Solar. The department had initially dismissed a similar petition from the group American Solar Manufacturers Against Chinese Circumvention. 

“If tariffs are imposed, in the blink of an eye we’re going to lose 100,000 American solar workers and any hope of reaching the President’s clean energy goals,” SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said in a statement Wednesday.

“This would be a monumental loss for our nation, which has the potential to lead our clean energy future, with the right policies. Instead, the Commerce Department is on track to wipe out nearly half of all solar jobs and force a surrender on the President’s climate goals.” 

A bipartisan group of senators, led by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), has also criticized the probe, with Rosen saying it threatens the Biden administration’s own renewable energy goals.

However, a source familiar told The Hill that in response to a letter from senators expressing concerns, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo emphasized that “Commerce has not made a determination, one way or the other, on the merits of whether circumvention is occurring, and no additional duties have been imposed as a result of the initiation.” 

The Hill has reached out to the Commerce Department for comment. 

Tags Abigail Ross Hopper Biden Gina Raimondo Jacky Rosen Solar Industry
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