Undercurrent

Rosen introduces bill to repeal solar tariffs

By: - February 17, 2022 10:30 am

Solar panels at the Copper Mountain Solar 3 Facility just outside Boulder City. (Photo: Jeniffer Solis)

U.S. Sens. Jacky Rosen, a Democrat, and Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, introduced a bill that would repeal the Biden administration’s extension on most imported solar panels.

Nevada solar industry leaders were dismayed by Biden’s extension on tariffs imposed by defeated former President Donald Trump four years ago, arguing that fees on imported panels have failed to boost domestic manufacturing as intended.

The bill also aims to stimulate domestic production and manufacturing of solar panels and other solar energy components by creating a dedicated Department of Energy program to enhance home made U.S. solar goods.

“Solar tariffs are hurting America’s clean energy economy by raising prices for American families and costing us jobs in this key industry, while failing to incentivize domestic manufacturing,” said Rosen in a statement. “The current policy has not worked, and the United States now has some of the highest prices for solar panels in the world. That’s why I’m introducing bipartisan legislation to repeal these tariffs and boost domestic solar panel manufacturing, which will strengthen our supply chain, lower clean energy costs, and create more good-paying jobs for Nevadans.”

Last month, Rosen was among a bipartisan group of senators urging Biden not to extend tariffs on imported solar panels and cells. While the administration did ultimately choose to continue some tariffs they did exclude bifacial panels.

In Nevada, bifacial solar panels are used in many large-scale utility projects in the state, say solar companies in the state, making their exclusion a boon for Nevada solar businesses.

Opponents of the tariffs say they have damaged other parts of the supply chain that depend on a steady supply of solar panels, including installation, maintenance and operations. 

In Nevada, about 83% of solar companies are in non-manufacturing, instead concentrated in installation and maintenance, operations, distribution, and development. Nationally, only 14% of solar jobs are in the manufacturing sector, while 67% of solar jobs are in installation and construction, according to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Nevada has more than 6,100 solar energy jobs, the most per capita in the U.S., according to a recent report based on U.S. Energy Information Administration data.

“The circumstance of continued tariffs will further impede solar deployment growth in Kansas, depriving the state of future investment and jobs,” said Moran who co-sponsored the bill. “We should be working to bolster domestic solar manufacturing capabilities in ways that don’t stifle American solar deployment, raise energy prices for consumers or lessen job opportunities for American workers.”

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Jeniffer Solis
Jeniffer Solis

Reporter | Jeniffer was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada where she attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before graduating in 2017 with a B.A in Journalism and Media Studies. While at UNLV she was a senior staff writer for the student newspaper, the UNLV Scarlet and Gray Free Press, and a news reporter for KUNV 91.5 FM, covering everything from the Route 91 shooting to UNLV housing. She has also contributed to the UNLV News Center and worked as a production engineer for several KUNV broadcasts before joining the Nevada Current. She’s an Aries.

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