Following is a statement from Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), on Suniva's filing today of a Section 201 petition with the International Trade Commission:
Smart policies that support solar manufacturing will grow American jobs throughout the clean energy supply chain and ensure a robust domestic industry. Already, solar manufacturing employs over 29,000 Americans across more than 650 sites and has contributed to the solar industry's rise as one of the fastest growing economic sectors in America.
The Solar Energy Industries Association, representing 1,000 member companies across the entire solar supply chain, seeks to promote and protect the interests of the 9,000 U.S. companies engaged in the solar industry and the more than 260,000 American workers they employ. SEIA supports fair and free trade of solar equipment to grow the American solar industry, which is strengthening our national security and driving local and national economic growth. While we have not had a chance to fully review Suniva’s petition to the International Trade Commission, we strongly urge the federal government to find a resolution that bolsters the competitiveness of American solar cell and panel manufacturing, which employs approximately 2,000 people in the U.S., without erecting new trade barriers. SEIA opposes any resolution that restricts fairly-traded imports of solar equipment through new tariffs or other barriers that endanger the livelihoods of the 260,000 American solar workers and their families living in every state in the Union.
In the face of the current U.S-China solar trade dispute, SEIA has stepped forward to leverage its authority to help Washington and Beijing realize the sector is too important for the world’s energy security to jeopardize with more trade wars.
Increasing tension in the global solar industry threatens to slow the rapid deployment of solar energy products. Solar energy is a proven technology, and escalating trade conflicts will have broader implications as the world is on the cusp of widespread adoption of solar. Building consensus on government best practices, including acceptable forms of industry support, can help reduce trade barriers and ultimately increase the adoption of solar worldwide.
As countries look to strengthen their clean energy sector in the wake of the recession, many existing government programs and those under consideration have begun to include some kind of local content requirement. SEIA is monitoring the development of local content provisions and will work to decrease these trade barriers to strengthen exports of U.S. solar products.
Although used in small amounts, rare earth minerals and other critical minerals are an essential element to the development and manufacturing of solar technologies.