(September 19, 2017)  Later this week, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) will make recommendations regarding placing tariffs on all imported solar products. In April, solar manufacturer Suniva filed a petition with the USITC requesting tariffs on solar products imported into the United States.

The action was filed under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, a little-known act that allows the USITC to determine if an action has created, or might create, serious injury to a domestic industry. The USITC decision would quickly slow down the fastest growing industry in the United States.

If these tariffs are put in place, the price of solar panels would double — putting the solar industry and thousands of American workers at risk of losing their jobs. In Georgia, we could lose 50 percent of our solar workers.

By the Numbers:

  • In 2016, solar energy was the fastest source of new electricity in America (SEIA.org).
  • There are currently more than 8,000 solar companies in the United States.
  • The solar industry employs more than 260,000 Americans (National Solar Jobs Census, 2016). This is up 25 percent from just one year before.
  • One of every 50 new jobs in the US in 2016 was in the solar industry.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the trade association representing more than 1000 solar companies, has officially taken the position that they are against the petition because of its potential damage to the solar industry.

SEIA will continue to fight for trade policies that support the entire solar industry. Right now, solar is one of the least expensive energy sources in America. The petition puts 88,000 jobs at risk nationwide including almost 4,000 in Georgia, 5,000 in North Carolina and 7,000 in South Carolina.

While these numbers show the potential impact on the solar industry, the effects of the petition will go far beyond the manufacturers and installers. Machinists, fabricators and other trades will lose work if the petition is approved and the price of solar increases.  A large percentage of these manufacturing jobs are in Georgia and the Southeast.

We recommend concerned citizens write their congressional representatives and let them know they are concerned about the potential for lost jobs in Georgia and across the country.