SEIA report says solar installations will fall over next 2 years due to tariff case

Published on April 28, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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Forecasts for solar installation in 2022 and 2023 are being lowered by 46 percent due to the Biden administration’s circumvention case against solar imports from Southeast Asia.

The Commerce Department is investigating whether imports of solar panels from Southeast Asia are circumventing rules and avoiding tariffs. The four Southeast nations suspected of shipping Chinese solar goods would be assessed tariffs retroactively. The four nations, according to sources, are responsible for 80 percent of the US supply of certain solar panels that are important to the utility-scale sector.

An analysis by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), found that the circumvention case will result in a drop of 24 gigawatts (GW) of planned solar capacity over the next two years, which is more solar than the industry installed in all of 2021. As a result, the installations forecasts for 2022 and 2023 being cut by 46 percent.

“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. “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.”

Further, the report indicated that the lost solar deployment would cause the United States to emit an additional 364 million metric tons of carbon by 2035.

The analysis found that a total of 318 projects, accounting for 51 GW of solar capacity and 6 GWh of attached battery storage, are being cancelled or delayed. In turn, that puts about $52 billion of private investment at risk. In addition, 70 percent of survey respondents report that at least half their solar and storage workforce is at risk and more than 200 companies report that their entire workforce is at risk.

“This case is destroying clean energy, and needlessly taking down American businesses and workers in its wake,” Hopper said. “It’s unfathomable that the President would allow his own administration’s actions to be the downfall of his clean energy vision.”

SEIA said that by 2025, the imposition of tariffs will cause solar capacity to fall 75 GW short of the pace needed to reach the president’s goal.