As the solar industry anxiously waits to see how the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) rules in the Section 201 trade case, executives from 27 solar mounting equipment manufacturers have sent an open letter to the ITC urging the agency to deny the new global tariffs proposed by Suniva and SolarWorld Americas.
“The tariffs requested by Suniva would more than double the price of solar panels in the U.S., undercutting the cost-competitiveness of solar and reversing its high growth trajectory. We would be forced to cut our manufacturing, seriously endangering manufacturing jobs at our factories,” the letter says. “We have been building our companies to meet demand from a large and growing domestic solar market. That market is now under threat. We are true U.S. solar manufacturers, and we ask that you not grant Suniva’s request for global safeguards.”
The open letter follows the ITC’s first public hearing on the Section 201 petition, where the Solar Energy Industries Association helped gather dozens of solar workers to voice their opposition and the two co-petitioners presented their cases.
Spearheaded by mounting manufacturer PanelClaw, the letter signatories also include mounting manufacturers Advanced Solar Products, Aerocompact, Anchor Products, Array Technologies , EcoFasten Solar, Ecolibrium Solar, DCE Solar, GameChange Solar, IronRidge, NEXTracker, OMCO, Pegasus Solar, QuickMount PV, RBI Solar, S-5!, Schletter, SMASHsolar, SnapNrack, Solar FlexRack, Sollega, SunFoldings, SunModo, SunLink, TerraSmart, TesSolar and Unirac.
In an announcement, the companies claim they employ a total of more than 5,700 workers across the U.S., and several of the signatories are also members of the Energy Trade Action Coalition, a diverse group recently launched to fight the trade petition.
Constantino Nicolaou, CEO of PanelClaw, says, “The notion by the petitioners that increasing the cost of modules will lead to job creation is not only unconscionable, but also counter to all we have seen since the industry was born. We urge the commission to reject this petition.”
Russell Schmit, CEO of Schletter, says, “It’s hard to quantify exactly what this trade case could do, but I could see this cutting our business by half at least, so that would cost us 100 jobs or more.”
“The vast majority of Americans want solar, and its continued adoption is vital to drive economic success in the U.S.,” says Michael Maulick, CEO of SunLink. “There is tremendous opportunity for future growth with new technology innovations to create more intelligent solar energy. Companies that embrace innovation and deliver cutting-edge products will thrive, but ones that don’t invest in innovation – like the two petitioners – will fail. Tariffs proposed by the petitioners will not advance the U.S. economy and only stifle continued innovation in solar.”
The ITC is expected to make its injury determination on Sept. 22. Only if the ITC finds injury would the case move forward to a remedy stage. The full letter is available here.