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The US solar industry publishes a joint letter requesting Biden to cancel tariffs on bifacial modules

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It is reported that dozens of CEOs in the field of renewable energy issued a public joint letter in recent days, requesting US President Biden to cancel the Trump administration’s tariff increase on solar panel imports last year.

The CEOs of these companies come from companies such as Clearway Energy Group, Lightsource BP, 8minute Solar Energy and EDF Renewables. In addition to abolishing this "punitive and ill-considered" tariff rate hike, they also demanded the abolition of the new tariffs on imported double-sided photovoltaic panels that took effect this year.

The United States imposed a 30% tariff on imported solar modules in February 2018, ostensibly to support its domestic manufacturing industry, but it triggered reports of a "destructive blow" to the solar industry, and led to litigation disputes with Canadian solar companies. It is understood that the tariff of Section 201 has been gradually reduced since its implementation, and it has been reduced to about 20% last year.

The joint letter said that Section 201 tariffs have stifled job creation in the solar industry and "hindered our ability to deal with the climate crisis." If these tariffs are not implemented, 62,000 more jobs may be created.

It is understood that tariffs are expected to be reduced to 15% again in early 2021, but in October last year, Trump launched a plan to increase tariffs to 18% and cancel the exemption for double-sided modules, resulting in a 20% levy tariff.

Abigail Ross Hopper, chairman and CEO of the US Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), said that due to the latest tax rate adjustments, solar contracts worth "billions of dollars" will be at risk.

He said: "As we face the many economic and climate challenges in the future, the President is expected to build a clean energy economy with millions of high-paying jobs, strengthen our country’s infrastructure, support domestic manufacturing, and invigorate communities across the United States. And the elimination of tariffs is the first step in realizing this vision."

Because of his actions on climate change and his support for the renewable energy industry, President Biden has largely received the support of the US solar industry. The newly-elected leader signed a series of executive orders last month to increase climate action in the United States, including issuing directives to all federal agencies to purchase zero-emission vehicles at the same time as “carbon-free electricity,” and Suspension of new leases of oil and gas projects on public land and offshore waters. Biden also set the goal of 100% carbon-free power generation in the United States by 2035.

The joint letter "praised" Biden's efforts in the first few weeks of his tenure, but the letter added that to achieve the 2035 goal, the deployment of renewable energy production capacity will need to be increased by 8 times.

"In order to achieve this ambitious goal, our country must deploy 1,200 GW of wind, solar and energy storage, which requires construction each year at a rate nearly eight times faster than in the past decade."

Heather Zichal, chairman of the American Clean Power Association and one of the signatories of the joint letter, said that the cancellation of the October 2020 tariff hike would benefit "every" American solar energy practitioner. She added that this upward adjustment "injects uncertainty into the market." "The withdrawal of this decision will allow Americans to return to work, revitalize the manufacturing industry, and put us on the path of a fair recovery and a clean energy future."


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