Letter to the Hon. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., President-Elect - Bennet, Senate Democratic Colleagues Urge Incoming Biden Administration to Repeal Harmful Solar Tariffs Set by President Trump
Dear President-Elect Biden:
We write respectfully to request your administration make full repeal of the Trump
administration's harmful tariffs on imported solar photovoltaic cells and panels an early
priority. There are more effective ways to stimulate manufacturing in the U.S. than the
current administration's unjustified tariffs that have cost the country thousands of solar
jobs, billions in private investment and slowed progress in addressing the climate crisis.
President Trump imposed the tariffs on imported crystalline silicon cells and panels in
2018 under section 201 of the Trade Act. The tariffs were set to last four years at an initial
rate of 30 percent, declining five percent per year to 15 percent in 2021. More recently, in
October the president issued a new proclamation that increased the tariffs to 18 percent in
2021 from the previously announced level of 15 percent. The president's proclamation,
which would impose an additional $300 million burden on the domestic solar industry in
2021 alone, also authorized the U.S. Trade Representative to request a new investigation
that could extend the tariffs beyond the four years originally levied. Unless repealed, the
president's imposition of a higher tariff next year and the threat of an extension will only
increase the harm already caused by these tariffs to residential and utility-scale solar
installations and the solar industry as a whole.
We fully support and look forward to working with your Administration on meaningful
initiatives to expand domestic manufacturing. The section 201 solar tariffs are not the way
to achieve this objective. In just three years, President Trump's tariffs have dealt a
significant setback to the solar power sector. Domestic prices of solar panels are now
among the highest in the world, ranging from 43 to 57 percent above the global average.
According to industry estimates, as many as 62,000 solar jobs have been lost or not created
and more than 10.5 gigawatts of solar capacity delayed, representing a loss of sufficient
generation to power 1.8 million homes and $19 billion in investment. An additional
consequence of the tariffs is that annual CO2 emissions will increase by more than 26
million metric tons, equivalent to the emissions from 5.5 million cars or 7 coal plants.
We strongly support your administration's goal of achieving 100% clean electricity by
2035 as part of an agenda to address the climate crisis. Full repeal of your predecessor's
tariffs will assure the solar industry can compete on equal footing with all other sources of
electric power and further advance your climate and job-creation goals. We urge you to
make repeal of the section 201 tariffs on solar cells and panels an early priority for the