Solar Tariff Update

Protectionist Policies Put American Jobs at Risk

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted May 15, 2012

This just came in from the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy.  Check it out. . .

Awaiting a key U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) decision, American solar manufacturers are speaking out against SolarWorld’s campaign to raise tariffs on imported Chinese solar cells.

Manufacturers including Dow Corning and Hemlock Semiconductor, GT Advanced Technologies, MEMC, REC Silicon, and Suntech America, believe that free trade and global competition are good for the American solar industry and American jobs. The companies represent over 3,000 American jobs in every major region of the country, including states such as Arizona, California, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

Robert D. Hansen, president and CEO, Dow Corning Corporation (not a CASE member, but against SolarWorld’s petition): “Dow Corning and Hemlock Semiconductor are among the world’s leading suppliers of polysilicon and other key solar materials that power solar innovation. We believe that the trade case brought against Chinese solar manufacturers by SolarWorld could undermine the solar industry’s significant progress at the very moment it is poised for success. It’s important to remember that no nation or industry “wins” when trade disputes escalate – and in this case, we are concerned about serious unintended consequences such as local job loss and retaliatory tariffs against the U.S.”

Tom Gutierrez, CEO of GT Advanced Technologies: “Ultimately, the protectionism that SolarWorld is encouraging fosters dependence and high-cost business models, rather than the agile approaches that are most successful in global competition. Now is the time for the U.S. solar industry to move forward with creating American jobs and enhancing our energy security. We are proof that American solar manufacturing can compete without special protections.”

Tore Torvund, CEO of REC Silicon: “Tariffs are not in the best interest of American solar manufacturing, the American solar industry, or American solar consumers. We are concerned about the increased likelihood that China will retaliate with their own unilateral tariffs on polysilicon exports from U.S. producers such as REC Silicon. No one benefits in a global solar trade war.”

The voices of American solar manufacturers add to the chorus of downstream solar installers and project developers who oppose tariffs that would raise solar electricity prices and limit demand for new solar projects. Just the American solar manufacturers alone opposing SolarWorld’s campaign represent nearly three times more jobs than the public petitioners in the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM).

“It’s overwhelmingly clear now that the vast majority of the American solar industry opposes SolarWorld’s crusade to tax its competitors at the expense of the American solar industry. SolarWorld certainly doesn’t represent the bulk of American solar manufacturers, much less the American solar industry,” said Jigar Shah, President of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy. “Hopefully, in two days, the American solar industry will once again be able to breathe a collective sigh of relief and we can then put SolarWorld and this distracting chapter in our industry’s history behind us.”

On May 17th, the U.S. Department of Commerce is expected to announce a preliminary ruling as to whether to raise additional tariffs on American companies that import solar cells from China.

About CASE: The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE), a coalition of American solar companies representing 97% to 98% of the U.S. solar industry jobs, believes free trade and industry competition are critical to making solar electricity affordable for everyone. CASE is united in its commitment to creating jobs through the growth and development of the American solar industry. For more information about CASE, please visit: