U.S. Solar Power Tariff

WHAT IT IS

  • Solar power is using solar cell panels to capture energy from the Sun.
  • The U.S. wants to place an emergency safeguard tariff on solar modules to protect from potential injuries to the solar industry.
  • This is a result of a rare petition made by Suniva Inc. to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), after filing bankruptcy.
  • This request will go to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to be debated.

WHY IT MATTERS

Producing solar energy has become a booming global industry, in which the U.S., China and India all want control. Implementing this tariff would make America the highest priced country for solar modules and could start a solar trade war among the world.

  • SUPPORT TARIFF – “Protect U.S. business”

    • Keep it in-state:   U.S. based solar module manufacturers would become the main module source for companies building solar panels, rather than outsourcing.
    • Presidential rule:   President Trump campaigned to bring companies back to the U.S. and this tariff would support his promise.
    • It’s the law:   This legal petition is protected under the Trade Act of 1974 and if passed would save Suniva’s bankrupt business.
  • AGAINST TARIFF – “Protect renewable energy”

    • Bad business:   The price Suniva wants to set for modules is outdated and very high, creating a monopoly in the U.S.
    • Major setback:   Solar panel manufacturers would have to halt U.S. solar installations due to the price change.
    • World chaos:   The tariff would cause a solar trade dispute, as manufacturers in other countries lose their U.S. customers.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

  • Another solar module manufacturer, SolarWorld, has joined Suniva in the petition.
  • The petition is requesting a four year tariff and is gaining support.
  • ITC has until September 22, 2017 to decide if the U.S. solar industry has suffered from the surge in imports.
  • If passed, the petition will then require a decision from President Trump by November 13.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • The potential impact on the United States.
  • How can we balance creating cheap renewable energy and protecting U.S. business?
  • Is renewable energy something that should be always protected from business trades in order to create a “greener society”?