CPA: Reported White House Decision on Section 201 Solar Safeguards would Decimate U.S. Solar Manufacturers

Decision would go against 90% of voters who want to manufacture solar panels in the U.S.

WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) released a statement after reports that the White House is considering extending the Section 201 solar safeguard tariffs on Chinese imports, but excluding imported bifacial solar products. If the White House moves forward with this decision, it would go against the U.S. International Trade Commission’s (ITC) unanimous recommendation that the 201 tariffs should be extended and to include bifacial solar products, which the ITC decision noted that “the bifacial exclusion was an impediment to the domestic industry’s positive adjustment to import competition.”

“If this reported proposal becomes reality, the White House’s policy on solar would build back Beijing more than America,” said Nick Iacovella, CPA Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications. “The White House knows full well that excluding bifacial panels is just another huge giveaway to China. The practical effect of this reported policy under consideration by the White House would result in a tsunami of Chinese solar imports produced from forced labor and dirty coal fired power plants, and it would wipe out U.S. module makers and our domestic supply chain.”

Earlier this month, CPA urged the Biden administration to end the bifacial solar panel exclusion loophole after the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an appeal last Friday. The bifacial exclusion only came into existence after Chinese solar companies, and a Washington special interest group funded by them, misled the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) as part of their strategy to remove the Section 201 solar tariffs on Chinese solar companies. These same opponents of U.S. domestic solar manufacturers also lobbied against the Department of Commerce from investigating alleged circumvention of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on solar imports, and against the Biden administration’s actions aimed at Chinese solar companies’ use of forced labor in Xinjiang.

In a new poll of registered voters, conducted by Morning Consult for CPA, voters signaled overwhelming support for domestic solar manufacturing, with 9 out of 10 respondents and nearly 100% of voters who identify as liberal, saying that it is important for the United States to manufacture renewable energy equipment like solar panels here in America. The poll shows a significant majority (61%) of voters, including 66% of Democrats, will oppose candidates that support the continued importation of solar panels produced by Chinese companies. Additionally, a significant majority (55%) of voters, including 60% of Independents, said that they are less likely to support a candidate who supports addressing climate change by importing Chinese solar panels. 

Last year, CPA released a white paper that documents the fact that the Section 201 solar tariffs have had no negative impact on the U.S. market for solar energy installations, which grew 43% in 2020. Solar installations are set to be more than 50% greater than they were expected to be prior to the implementation of the 201 tariffs in 2017. Importantly, several U.S. solar module manufacturers have ramped up production substantially in the last three years under the stimulus of the Section 201 safeguard tariffs on solar module imports, leading U.S producers to achieve a 10-year high in market share of 19.8% in 2019.


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