Bennet Sends Letter To U.S. International Trade Commission Opposing Tariffs That Would Harm Solar Industry

Denver, CO - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined a bipartisan group of senators led by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) in urging the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) not to impose tariffs that would negatively affect the American solar industry. In a letter to Chairman Rhonda Schmidtlein, the lawmakers expressed their deep concern with the pending Section 201 global safeguard case regarding solar cell and module manufacturing in the United States. The ITC held a public hearing on the matter earlier today.

"The petition requests that the President impose high tariffs on imported solar cells and high minimum prices for imported solar modules," the senators wrote. "As part of the U.S. International Trade Commission's investigation, we respectfully request that you also consider if the proposed trade remedies would negatively affect the American solar industry."

The solar industry is booming across the nation. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Foundation's 2016 Solar Jobs Census, 9,000 solar companies employed over 260,000 American workers. One out of every 50 new jobs added by our economy in 2016 was a solar job.

"Solar companies in our states believe the requested trade protection would double the price of solar panels," the senators continued. "Increasing costs will stop solar growth dead in its tracks, threatening tens of thousands of American workers in the solar industry and jeopardizing billions of dollars in investment in communities across the country."

"According to SEIA, more than 88,000 American solar jobs could be lost next year if the proposed tariffs are imposed. Moreover, GTM Research estimates the tariffs would cut the demand for solar projects in half over the next five years. These tariffs would especially hurt residential rooftop solar projects that are growing rapidly. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that small-scale solar generation nearly doubled from 2014 to 2016."

In addition to Bennet, Heinrich, and Tillis, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), David Perdue (R-GA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Dean Heller (R-NV), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jerry Moran (R-KA), Tim Scott (R-SC), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Angus King (I-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).

A similar letter was sent by a number of members in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Click HERE for the full text of the senators' letter.