Advanced Energy Buyers Group Urges Trade Commission Not to Recommend Undue Tariffs, Floor Prices on Solar Imports

Letter to U.S. International Trade Commission from corporate purchasers of renewable energy says proposed remedies for the impact of foreign competition would drive up costs and "directly harm our businesses"

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the Advanced Energy Buyers Group announced it had submitted a letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) urging the Commission not to recommend undue tariffs or floor prices on imported solar panels, saying those actions would have "harmful economic consequences" and "adversely impact many downstream solar customers." The letter was submitted late yesterday, meeting the filing deadline for next week's hearing on the matter.


Last Friday, in a case brought by Suniva, a Chinese-owned solar manufacturer with operations in Georgia and Michigan, and German-owned SolarWorld - both companies now in bankruptcy proceedings - the ITC found that imports had harmed U.S. manufacturers of solar panels. The Commission will hold a hearing October 3 to consider possible remedies, and send its recommendations to President Trump by November 13.

"Many of our companies have made commitments to eventually meet up to 100% of our electricity needs with renewable energy," the Buyers Group wrote in its letter to the ITC. "These renewable energy commitments are a promise we have made to our customers, our employees, our shareholders, our boards, and the public at large. Meeting these targets will reduce our energy costs and support new jobs in the United States, and failure to do so would hurt our competitive advantage in the global marketplace." The Buyers Group concludes, "A recommendation in the Section 201 Trade Case before the ITC to impose undue tariffs on imported solar panels would increase our operating costs and directly harm our businesses."

In addition, the Buyers Group wrote, "Reduced demand from customers, including our companies, risks disrupting the current trajectory of the solar industry at a time when solar energy is at or approaching grid parity in many parts of the country and when the solar industry is a significant source of growth in our economy."

"The Advanced Energy Buyers Group brings a fresh perspective to this controversial trade case," said Malcolm Woolf, senior vice president for policy for Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a national business organization that facilitates the Advanced Energy Buyers Group. "Given that 71% of Fortune 100 companies have established energy related targets as part of their corporate sustainability commitments, artificially inflating the cost of solar power with tariffs and floor prices creates an added burden just as solar has become cost-competitive. This would adversely impact the ability of Corporate America to meet its energy needs with the renewable power it wants, just as it would other consumers who are choosing renewable energy."

Members of the Advanced Energy Buyers Group expect to consume over 7 terawatt-hours (TWh) of renewable energy in 2017, equivalent to the electricity sales for the state of Rhode Island.

About the Advanced Energy Buyers Group

The Advanced Energy Buyers Group is a business-led coalition of large energy users engaging on policies to expand opportunities to procure energy that is secure, clean, and affordable. Members of the Advanced Energy Buyers Group are leading companies and organizations spanning a range of market sectors, including technology, retail, education, and manufacturing. Buyers Group members share a common interest in expanding the use of advanced energy, such as renewable energy like wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower; demand-side resources like energy efficiency, demand response, and energy storage; and onsite generation from solar photovoltaics, advanced natural gas turbines, and fuel cells. The Advanced Energy Buyers Group is convened and facilitated by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a national business association of advanced energy companies.

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