CEOs of several large renewable energy companies are urging President Biden to rescind the solar proclamation from October 2020 with which the Trump Administration lifted solar import tariffs and revoked the exclusion of bifacial panels.
In a letter dated February 11, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the American Clean Power Association (ACPA) and the CEOs of companies like Lightsource BP, RWE Renewables Americas, NextEra Energy Resources, EDF Renewables, 8minute Solar and DE Shaw Renewable Investments say that rescinding the proclamation would restore business certainty. They call for sensible trade policies that will “help build back better with a thriving energy workforce”.
In October, former President Donald Trump issued the solar proclamation, with which he set a fourth-year safeguard tariff on solar imports of 18% and also rescinded the exclusion for bifacial photovoltaic (PV) panels from the measure.
“These actions did not and will not spur domestic manufacturing. Instead, they created significant business uncertainty, added new costs to solar projects that were already contracted, and delayed numerous solar projects,” the CEOs’ letter says.
The safeguard tariffs on solar imports, beyond a certain quota, were announced by Trump in January 2018. The duty started at 30% in the first year and it decreased by five percentage points for each following year. The duty in 2021 was to fall to 15%, but Trump lifted it to compensate for the impact of the exclusion of bifacial panels which, he says in the proclamation, impaired the effectiveness of the duties.
According to analysis by SEIA, the four-year tariffs have resulted in the loss of 62,000 jobs, USD 19 billion (EUR 15.7bn) in lost private sector investment, and an increase in carbon emissions of some 26 tonnes.
The CEOs applauded President Biden’s target for 100% carbon‐free electricity generation by 2035, saying that this would require the installation of 1.2 TW of wind, solar, and energy storage. To do that the country has to build at an annual pace that is nearly eight times faster than the past decade.