Energy & Environment

Biden extends solar panel tariffs with modifications

President Biden will extend Trump-era tariffs on solar cells, but with some exemptions a bipartisan group of senators called for in January, the White House confirmed Friday.

The Biden administration will extend the Section 201 tariffs, which cover cells and solar panels, another four years rather than allow them to expire Sunday, according to the White House announcement. However, the extension will exempt bifacial solar panels, double-sided panels that are typically used in larger utility installations. It will also increase the capacity of solar cells that can be imported duty-free from 2.5 gigawatts to 5.

The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), which has been one of the most vocal industry opponents of the tariffs, offered measured praise of the announcement, calling it a “balanced solution.”

“While we are disappointed with the decision to extend Section 201 tariffs on imported solar cells and panels, we are grateful to the Biden administration for clearly considering the range of issues affected by this decision,” SEIA CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said in a statement. “Administration officials arrived at a balanced solution in upholding the exclusion for bifacial panels and increasing the tariff rate quota for cells.”

George Hershman, the CEO of SOLV Energy, the biggest utility-scale solar installer in the U.S., also commended the bifacial panel exemption and said further policy assistance such as solar tax credits was necessary.

“Instead of creating barriers for renewable energy deployment, the solar industry needs an investment tax credit that will strengthen U.S. solar manufacturing and help us build a brighter future. I look forward to working with the Biden Administration toward that vision,” Hershman said in a statement.

The announcement comes about two weeks after Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) led eight senators in asking Biden not to extend the tariffs. The letter from the lawmakers asked Biden to “at minimum” incorporate the bifacial panel exemption if the administration extended the tariffs. The administration had previously appealed a court decision striking down the solar tariffs.

Tags Jacky Rosen Joe Biden solar tariffs

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