Commerce Department puts solar industry on ice


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On March 28, the Department of Commerce initiated a “circumvention inquiry” that opened the door to the imposition of retroactive duties (effective to the date the investigation was announced) of up to 250% on imports of key solar energy components from four Southeast Asian nations (Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam). This is no small matter. These countries provided an estimated 84% of all American imports of solar panels last year and half of the solar cells that are routinely relied upon by domestic U.S. solar panel manufacturers.

As a result of the immense uncertainty in cost unleashed by this decision, we are already seeing a dramatic and immediate decrease in the investment in and development of solar energy in the United States. After all, how do businesses approach financial decisions concerning investment in new solar projects when the costs are unknowable — and could more than double without notice?

The decision also has an immediate impact on the availability of new solar modules in the U.S., with global suppliers predictably choosing to ship their solar products to other nations where there is not the same risk of punitive tariffs. In a recent survey of over 400 companies, the Solar Energy Industries Association found that 78% of companies that purchase or use photovoltaic modules have been told expected shipments were canceled or delayed. More than 80% of domestic manufacturers, the group the Commerce Department action was supposedly intended to benefit, expect severe or devastating effects as they lose access to key solar components. Two-thirds of the companies responding to the survey report that 70% or more of their workforce is now at risk.

Officially, the Commerce Department is simply “investigating,” but the announcement in the Federal Register has peremptorily made the financial decisions critical to solar energy development perilous, if not impossible, for months to come. The result hamstrings an important driver of U.S. economic growth and job creation and a crucial part of any effective effort to address climate change. Not to mention that the U.S. trade repercussions of an adverse Commerce Department decision would extend well beyond Southeast Asia, affecting the whole of the renewable energy industry and undercutting both our economic goals and the climate imperative.



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Democratic Senator Says Biden Admin Shouldn’t Investigate Chinese Companies Over Alleged Tariff Violations

Rosen said she had “very serious concerns” with the Department of Commerce’s recent decision to probe whether several China-based solar companies had routed products bound for the U.S. through four southeast Asian nations — Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam — in an attempt to circumvent American duties placed on their goods. The Commerce Department announced it would open an investigation into the matter after American solar company Auxin Solar shared evidence of tariff violations.

“I have very serious concerns with the Commerce Department’s recent decision to initiate an investigation into solar panel imports,” Rosen told Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo during the Senate Commerce Committee hearing. “Already, as a result of Commerce’s decision, industry surveys indicate over 80% of U.S. solar companies report being notified of canceled or delayed panel supply.”

Rosen’s comments were in reference to reports from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a powerful renewable energy group that opposed the investigation. The group’s membership includes Chinese solar companies affected by the tariffs and U.S. utility companies that rely on cheap solar panels for industrial-scale projects.


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But let’s get back to that key word: “Reduce.”

Any clean energy solution to whatever our planet’s problems might (or might not) be, if it doesn’t include nuclear power then it doesn’t solve anything.

As Evergreen and the IEA both admit, extracting the minerals needed for solar and wind is a very dirty business — maybe even dirtier than drilling, fracking, or mining for coal.

Those processes release an awful lot of that postmodern boogeyman, carbon, too.

But clean energy does solve one of the Left’s problems: People they don’t like doing things they don’t approve of.

The key is in that one word, quoted above: “Reduce.”

Non-nuclear “clean energy” isn’t about saving the Earth — how could it be, after even its proponents admit how filthy it is?

No, non-nuclear “clean energy” is about forcing people to reduce the energy they use. Just like the return to “organic” farming, which the Biden Administration is using the Ukraine War to nudge farmers into doing, is about reducing crop yields.

From Instapundit earlier on Monday:

[Obama Administration retread Samantha] Power telling Stephanopoulos that potential food shortages are a way to nudge farmers in a direction the administration wants them to go is akin to their frequent arguments that high gas prices should be encouraged to nudge drivers into electric cars.

Reduce energy production and everyone but the well-connected would be reduced to a pre-industrial lifestyle. Reduce food production and there won’t be enough of the hoi polloi to put up a fuss about it.

Am I being paranoid, or am I just taking the Left at their word?