• A market analysis by SEIA on Section 201 tariffs imposed on imported solar cells and modules claims the US is to lose more than 62,000 jobs between 2017 and 2021
  • During the same time, the country is likely to see 10.5 GW of PV capacity canceled losing $19 billion in new private sector investment
  • Nascent markets as Alabama, Nebraska, Kansas and the Dakotas won’t be able to get off the ground because tariffs make solar uncompetitive, according to the SEIA
  • Solar tariffs are costing the country more than $10.5 million per day in unrealized economic activity

Safeguard duties imposed on solar cells and modules imported into the US by the Trump Administration since January 2018, haven’t been helping the country’s solar industry, claims a report by the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Titled The Adverse Impact of Section 201 Tariffs: Lost Jobs, Lost Deployment and Lost Investments, the report trails the impact of the tariffs ever since Suniva filed a complaint with the government in the beginning of 2017 through the end of the tariff lifecycle in 2021 and sees a loss of more than 62,000 local jobs and $19 billion in new private sector investment.

It estimates that between 2017-2021, tariffs will lead to the cancellation of 10.5 GW of solar installations which if online would have powered 1.8 million homes and curbed 26 million tons of carbon emissions.

The authors of the report argue solar tariffs are costing the country more than $10.5 million per day in unrealized economic activity, while each new solar panel manufacturing job created by the tariff leads to 31 additional jobs lost, 5.3 MW of solar deployment lost and close to $9.5 million of lost investment. Worse, it will lead to emissions equivalent to seven coal power plants.

Nascent solar markets Alabama, Nebraska, Kansas and the Dakotas are hardly impacted by these solar tariffs due to their small size but it slows down their development. “These markets won’t be able to get off the ground because tariffs make solar uncompetitive,” says the SEIA.

“This stark data should be the predicate for removing harmful tariffs and allowing solar to fairly compete and continue creating jobs for Americans,” added President and CEO of SEIA, Abigail Ross Hopper.

Tariffs imposed under Section 201 started at 30% slab in 2018 and are scheduled to come down gradually to 25% in 2019, 20% in 2020 and 15% in 2021. Previously out of its purview, bifacial solar panels were brought under the structure, however a US court temporarily pulled back the revision for bifacial solar in response to a petition by Invenergy (see US Court Exempts Tariffs On Imported Bifacial PV Panels). The US Court’s decision was upheld by the Court of International Trade which recently issued a decision allowing bifacial solar modules to continue to be exempted from Section 201 tariffs objecting the government’s decision to abruptly stop the exemption, said SEIA. The court has now agreed the revocation should not go into effect until after it makes a final decision.

SEIA released the report at a time when the US International Trade Commission (USITC) is holding a midterm review process for the tariffs. The market analysis from SEIA is available on its website.

The White House’s reponse to SEIA’s report from was quick. Reuters reported Trump’s trade and manufacturing advisor Peter Navarro called the report ‘classic fake news dressed up in academic mumbo jumbo’.