Texas Will Lose Half Its Solar Jobs Next Year If Federal Government Rules Against Industry in Trade Case
SEIA says adverse decision would cost U.S. 88,000 jobs, reverse years of solar growth
Thursday, Jun 15 2017
WASHINGTON D.C.— The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade association for the solar industry, said today that Texas will lose 46 percent of its solar jobs next year if Suniva gets trade protections as proposed in its petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).
This spring, the Georgia-based company asked the ITC to place a tariff on imported solar cells and set a price floor for virtually all imported panels, arguing that it cannot compete with foreign rivals. Suniva, which is majority-owned by a Chinese firm, filed the petition after declaring bankruptcy in April.
Overall, SEIA said, the U.S. will lose some 88,000 jobs next year, or about one-third of the American solar workforce today, if Suniva prevails.
“These new estimates show the potential damage to the solar industry as a result of this petition,” said SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “Rather than help the industry, the action would kill many thousands of American jobs and put a stop to billions of dollars in private investment.”
“Our estimates show that even in the states where Suniva and its lone supporter, SolarWorld, have operations, if the petition succeeds there would be many more jobs lost than expected gains for two struggling companies,” Hopper said.
SEIA said that if Suniva gets the relief it is seeking, prices will rise substantially, slashing demand for solar and sending the industry in reverse.
Among the states standing to lose the most jobs include California with an expected job loss of 15,800, another 7,000 jobs would be lost in South Carolina, and 6,300 in Texas, which is nearly half of the state’s solar workforce, according to preliminary estimates by SEIA.
“We believe Suniva’s Section 201 trade petition has a strong potential to negatively affect thousands of current and future jobs across the renewable energy industry,” said Trent Mostaert, vice president and general manager for Solar and Emerging Renewables, at Mortenson, which operates in Texas. “Solar energy has achieved tremendous adoption in the U.S. and costs continue to decrease as the industry grows and this proposal could bring that progress to a halt and hurt the economy.”
The trade case comes after a record-breaking year of solar energy growth in 2016, when nationwide installed capacity doubled and industry jobs grew by 51,000 jobs, a 25 percent increase. Texas’ solar capacity doubled and its solar jobs climbed 34 percent.
SEIA forecasts that solar jobs would be lost in all segments of the market. The utility-scale market, which has paced the industry’s growth for years, would see jobs shrink by 60 percent, while residential and commercial employment would fall by 44 percent and 46 percent, respectively, SEIA said.
For more information about the trade case, and SEIA’s work to oppose it, see our fact sheet.
Celebrating its 43rd anniversary in 2017, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry, which now employs more than 260,000 Americans. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to build jobs and diversity, champion the use of cost-competitive solar in America, remove market barriers and educate the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.
Alex Hobson, SEIA Senior Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 556-2886