A bipartisan group of senators is calling on President Biden to conclude an investigation into solar panel imports as quickly as possible. 

The Commerce Department announced an investigation in March into solar panel components manufactured in Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand to determine whether they are part of an attempt by Chinese companies to circumvent tariffs. The investigation was initiated in response to a petition from California-based solar manufacturer Auxin Solar. 

In a letter released Monday, led by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), senators note projections by the solar industry that the investigation could cost jobs as well as reduce U.S. solar capacity. The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), the primary solar trade group, has already reduced its installation projections by half in response to the probe. 

SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said in a statement last week that if tariffs are imposed, 100,000 American solar jobs could be instantly lost, and it would dash Biden’s clean energy efforts.

“Initiation of this investigation is already causing massive disruption in the solar industry, and it will severely harm American solar businesses and workers and increase costs for American families as long as it continues,” the Monday letter states.

“We strongly urge your administration to swiftly review the case and make an expedited preliminary determination. Such a determination should carefully consider the significant policy ramifications and reject the petitioner’s request for retroactivity.” 

Rosen and other senators have repeatedly raised concerns about the probe’s economic impact, as well as its potential detriment to the Biden administration’s own renewable energy targets.

Last week, the Commerce Department confirmed to The Hill that Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told Rosen and other senators 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.” 

In addition to Rosen, the letter was signed by Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Angus King (I-Maine), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.). 

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

Tags Abigail Ross Hopper Biden Commerce Department Gina Raimondo Jacky Rosen solar panels Solar power

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