Georgia Commissioner McDonald testifies against proposed solar tariffs

Published on August 21, 2017 by Kevin Randolph

Georgia Public Service Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald recently testified before the International Trade Commission (ITC) in opposition to the proposed higher tariffs on imported solar cells and modules.

Two solar companies, Suniva and SolarWorld, requested the tariffs as part of a proposed Section 201 safeguard case.

McDonald testified that the two companies experienced financial difficulties because of problems with their products and business models, rather than imports as the safeguard case says. They do not represent the
entire solar industry, the commissioner said.

“We can continue this progress without government intervention in the market. The sky is the limit, provided we don’t take actions that harm the industry,” McDonald said. “If the requested remedies are imposed, solar energy growth will draw to a standstill. That outcome would have a corresponding negative impact on jobs, economic development, property tax revenue, and investment in rural communities. It will also deprive consumers of the benefit of competitively priced solar projects.”

Increased tariffs on solar imports would diminish the competitiveness of solar energy in the United States, McDonald testified, and could lead to the termination of solar projects including one at Robins Air Base near Warner Robins, Georgia.

“Any tariffs imposed would distort the market, threatening tens of thousands of well-paying
American jobs and harming the economic viability of Georgia’s future solar projects,” McDonald said.