ACORE Statement to the International Trade Commission in Favor of a Recommendation of Non-Restrictive Trade Remedies

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Gregory Wetstone, President and CEO, American Council on Renewable Energy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – “I am Greg Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy. ACORE represents hundreds of leading companies from across the renewable energy sector, including key U.S. companies active in solar generation, manufacturing, and development, as well as those investing and financing billions of dollars in solar projects each year and those procuring solar power to meet energy requirements, service critical energy functions and achieve sustainability objectives. Our members will be directly impacted by the remedies recommended by the Commission.

While we fully support measures to promote greater U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and capability, including in crystalline silicon and other solar technology, we are deeply concerned about the economic impact of any trade restrictive remedy.

The adoption of trade restrictive remedies would have a profoundly negative impact on the growing U.S. solar market, with serious repercussions for American jobs and economic development, and would also harm electricity consumers, homeowners and businesses, who will face higher prices. Few companies are likely to invest in new silicon PV manufacturing facilities in the US on the basis of any four-year program of trade restrictions. Even if there is some increase in crystalline silicon PV manufacturing, we will still see a net negative impact on manufacturing as a result of the expected decrease in US demand for domestically manufactured racking systems, inverters, and related electronics, hardware and tracking technology.

Solar power has been the largest source of new electric power infrastructure in the U.S. for the last two years, with nearly 15,000 megawatts installed and approximately $25.5 billion of capital invested in 2016 alone. Market forecasts project continued growth in investment and deployment, totaling as much as 72.5 GW over the next five years.

However, remedies proposed by the petitioners last week (tariff of $0.25/watt for cells) would result in a 23 GW, or 32 percent, reduction in forecast solar deployment from 2018 through 2022 and the loss of billions in new solar investment across the U.S.

As you’ve heard today, trade restrictive remedies would also dramatically reduce employment in the solar sector. Projections suggest that over 62,800 jobs could be lost in 2018 alone; with over additional 80,000 jobs lost in 2020 and again in 2021. Analysts also expect negative impacts in the U.S. solar manufacturing sector, which includes a substantial production of inverters, racking systems and other related products.

There is little doubt that the adoption of trade restrictive remedies, in this case, would cause far more economic and social harm than good. While such remedies would have a widespread impact, there is little chance of success in turning around the businesses of the petitioners in this case or fundamentally improving the competitiveness of U.S. solar manufacturers broadly on the basis of any four-year program of trade restriction.

As such, ACORE respectfully urges that the ITC focus on non-trade restrictive remedies to enhance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. ACORE supports the measures proposed by SEIA. Such measures would not interfere with the fundamental economics and cost competitiveness of solar power and would work to promote investment, job creation, and U.S. competitiveness in one of the nation’s fastest growing and most important economic sectors.”

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The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is a national non-profit organization leading the transition to a renewable energy economy. With hundreds of member companies from across the spectrum of renewable energy technologies, consumers and investors, ACORE is uniquely positioned to promote the policies and financial structures essential to growth in the renewable energy sector. Our annual forums in Washington, D.C., New York and San Francisco set the industry standard in providing important venues for key leaders to meet, discuss recent developments, and hear the latest from senior government officials and seasoned experts. For more information, visit the ACORE website and follow @ACORE on Twitter.

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