Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the many sections of the U.S. solar industry that opposed the section 201 tariff have done an impressive job of mobilizing opposition – including solar developers, installers and racking, tracking and mounting manufacturers, right-wing think tanks, and politicians.
This coalition scored its latest coup yesterday, with four U.S. governors sending a letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), urging the body to reject the Section 201 petition put forth by Suniva and SolarWorld, and specifically the global trade remedies which Suniva has called for.
“The requested tariff could inflict a devastating blow on our states’ solar industries and lead to unprecedented job loss, at a steep cost to our states’ economies,” warns the letter, citing a study by GTM Research which indicated that the combination of the minimum price and tariffs requested by Suniva could reduce solar installation volumes by 66% over the next four years from what otherwise would be built.
The four governors are from Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada and North Carolina, all of which were in the top 10 solar markets in 2016. Two are Republicans and two Democrats, although it can be argued that Massachusetts’ Republicans would be centrist Democrats in any other region of the country.
It remains to be seen what effect this and other statements by politicians will have on the ITC. The agency is an independent body, all of whose members were appointed by past presidents, giving it a degree of insulation from such political pressure.
Either way, we will find out in a few hours, when the ITC issues a finding of whether or not the domestic solar cell and module manufacturing industry has been injured by foreign imports. Be sure to watch the pv magazine USA website for this breaking news, which is expected at around 11 AM Eastern Time (U.S.).