The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee officially approved the Congressional Review Act (CRA) on April 19, initiating the process of abolishing President Biden’s decision to suspend solar tariffs.
Last year, a local US company launched a tariff investigation that caused serious damage to the US solar and energy storage industry, resulting in multiple projects being cancelled or delayed. In June 2022, President Biden ordered a two-year suspension of tariffs to ensure that the United States can obtain sufficient supply of solar modules and meet power generation needs while expanding its domestic manufacturing industry.
Last August, President Biden also signed and passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), aiming to enhance investment and construction in multiple domestic fields, including new energy. Since the bill was passed, the newly announced investment in manufacturing will increase the manufacturing capacity of solar modules in the United States to over 47 GW, which is five times the capacity in 2022.
The SEIA, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), and the American Clean Power Association (ACP) have also released a joint letter calling on members of Congress to oppose the use of the CRA to trace solar tariffs. Petitioners said that some lawmakers are attempting to use the CRA to reverse the president’s claims and undermine the positive impact of the IRA.
If the CRA is passed, SEIA predicts that 4 GW of planned solar projects will be cancelled, accounting for 14% of the planned deployment in 2023, causing a loss in private clean energy investments of USD 4.2 billion, and 30,000 industry jobs will be eliminated, including 4,000 in manufacturing.
“A handful of lawmakers are toying with the fate of the U.S. solar and storage industry as they threaten $1 billion in retroactive tariffs. Businesses are investing in domestic manufacturing, but reintroducing ineffective tariffs at this stage will simply be a tax on American solar businesses, harming the market and dampening demand for American products. These misguided actions will echo throughout the clean energy industry for years to come,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)’s president and CEO.
At present, the CRA has passed the House Committee and will be voted on by the full House before being submitted to the Senate. If the CRA is passed in both houses, President Biden has the power to veto it. A two-thirds majority in both chambers could then overpower the presidential veto.