Biden suspends tariffs on Southeast Asian solar panels as part of moves to increase supply for U.S. manufacturers

President Biden on Monday authorized emergency measures to boost supply to the U.S. solar power industry in a bid to meet his climate change goals and tackle escalating costs.

To that end, the White House announced a two-year pause in tariffs on Southeast Asian solar panels amid complaints from industry groups that the solar sector is being held back by supply chain issues. and a Commerce Department investigation into possible trade violations involving Chinese products.

“About half of the nationwide deployment of solar modules that had been planned over the next year is currently at risk due to insufficient supply,” the announcement said. “Across the country, solar projects are being postponed or cancelled.”

The Commerce Department announced in March that it was reviewing imports of solar panels from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia, over concerns that products from those countries could circumvent U.S. anti-dumping rules that limit imports from from China.

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“As we invest in expanding domestic solar manufacturing and strengthening supply chains to protect our long-term energy security, imported solar panels remain an important element in meeting the immediate demands of bringing sources online. additional energy and to meet the energy needs of the American people,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

The aim is to increase domestic production of solar panel parts, construction installation materials, high-efficiency heat pumps and other components, including cells used for fuels generated by energy own. They called the tariff suspension affecting imports from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia a bridging measure while other efforts increase domestic solar power generation.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked on Monday whether the tariff break was a gift to China.

“Today’s announcement is for one country and one county and that is the United States,” she said. “He’s bringing the full force of the federal government to support America’s clean energy producers,” she said.

Marco DelTreste, left, and Arsenio Patricio of Mercury Solar Systems install panels on the roof of a home in Newburgh, NY On Monday, the White House announced a series of measures to increase US production of solar panels. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle/AP Newsroom)

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White House officials said the United States is currently on track to triple its domestic solar generation capacity by 2024.

The move comes nearly 18 months after Biden’s climate czar, former Senator John Kerry, suggested that energy workers displaced by Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline should get construction jobs. of solar panels. Since then, gasoline prices in the United States have doubled and inflation is at historic highs. China is the world leader in the production of solar panels and the world leader in the extraction of rare earth minerals that are essential for the production of solar panels. According to Reuters, the United States has only one rare earth mine and lacks processing capacity.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.