Biden appealed the repeal, saying it would undermine efforts to increase domestic production to support the growing solar industry and create uncertainty for companies and workers in the U.S. solar industry.
In June 2022, when President Biden introduced a two-year tariff exemption for solar modules made in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, he did so with the intention of increasing domestic production to support the growing solar industry. Fast forward almost a year, and by a vote of 56-41, the US Senate voted to repeal the two-year tariff break. Today, President Biden used his veto to repeal.
A White House statement noted that “For too long, the United States has depended on China for unfair trade practices and underinvestment in domestic production of solar energy products.” Since the inflation-reducing law was passed in August, many companies have announced plans to export solar energy production to the United States.
The White House said the country is on track to increase domestic module capacity eightfold by the end of President Biden’s first term. Because adding capacity takes time, the tariff decision supports U.S. companies and solar workers “while still holding our trading partners accountable.”
President Biden announced that he would not extend the tariff ban beyond the two-year period ending in June 2024.
The rule puts in place a temporary, 24-month bridge to ensure that when these new plants are up and running, we have a thriving solar installation industry ready to bring American solar products to homes, businesses and communities across the country. Passing this resolution is against American innovation. It would undermine those efforts and create deep uncertainty for American companies and solar workers. That is why I oppose this resolution.
“President Biden’s veto has helped preserve our nation’s clean energy development and prevented a bill from becoming law that would have eliminated 30,000 American jobs, including 4,000 solar manufacturing jobs,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) . ). “This action is a confirmation of the administration’s commitment to business certainty in the clean energy sector and a signal to companies to continue creating jobs, building domestic manufacturing capacity and investing in American communities.
Hopper pointed out that the short-term tariff break creates a bridge to the future of domestic production. With the U.S. experiencing an “avalanche of investment in solar power generation,” Hopper said the break couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Every metric shows that the Biden administration’s policies are working to achieve both goals, and we applaud the president for taking this action and protecting the livelihoods of 255,000 solar and storage workers nationwide,” Hopper concluded.
George Hershman, CEO of utility solar contractor SOLV Energy, agreed that repealing the moratorium would have “created business uncertainty, put tens of thousands of clean energy jobs at risk and stalled solar projects across the country.” He added that the president’s veto of “this harmful resolution is a win for U.S. solar companies and the growing solar workforce.”
Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council of Renewable Energy (ACORE), called the veto “a welcome step to avoid devastating effects on the U.S. economy,” saying that repealing the Congressional Review Act passed by Congress would have resulted in “several dozen canceled solar projects, tens of thousands of lost jobs and dangerous increase in carbon dioxide emissions.”
“Thanks to the President’s veto, the U.S. solar industry can now continue to grow as we expand our domestic manufacturing base to better meet the growing U.S. demand for solar panels,” Wetstone said.