The Green New Deal may have a black lining.
Solar power generation and air power make sense. They could create millions of jobs through manufacturing windmills and solar panels.
Big industry agrees. Millions of jobs. Fortunes made. A thriving nation.
But not in America – if lobbyists have their way. Those billions of new “Green” taxpayer dollars will be heading to China in the form of more off-shoring of American manufacturing.
This pressure to export jobs is coming from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which wants solar panel tariffs on China to be eliminated.
SEIA CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said in a statement last week:
We are going to consider every option to reverse this harmful approach (tariffs). We also will be talking with leaders in the next administration, regardless of who is president, about the harm of solar tariffs.
Why the objection to solar panel import regulation?
Thanks to current tariffs, solar panel production is moving out of China into the United States, and strangely that seems to be a bad idea for SEIA, which represents 1,000 member companies.
Kenneth Rapoza, CPA’s industry analyst, said government policy should not be just about saving pennies on panels, but also about jobs for our nation:
Around 10-15% of global solar installations are put up in the US each year, but until the Section 201 tariffs went into place, only around 1% of those solar panels were made here.
We now have more than 7 gigawatts of domestic solar panel production capacity, up from just 1 gigawatt in 2017 before the Section 201 tariffs were imposed on the importers, Rapoza explained.
When the pandemic hit, China stopped its exports of masks, ventilators and other necessary items to the United States, and only shipped them when they had satisfied domestic needs. That dictatorship ignores fair trade and open borders, when it comes to them versus us.
Rapoza agrees we can’t trust China.
By 2035, solar panels are expected to be as important as oil. Going from being reliant on OPEC to power our economy, to being reliant on Chinese solar panels would be a sad tale of epic proportions – and a national security concern.
If the US had continued down the path advocated by SEIA, we would have seen greater harm to domestic manufacturers and only more imports from the heavily subsidized, non-market business practices of China’s solar industry.
The prediction that not importing panels from China would cause a drastic price increase has been proven false, even though eight of the top ten solar panel makers in the world are in China.
In 2019, solar prices here continued to fall, despite the tariff, according to the CPA.
“Installations of solar panels rose,” Rapoza explained, and “the forecasts are that this year will be a record setter for solar installation.”
If we want the economy to recover from a pandemic, why not recover by building those solar cells and solar panels, including the two-sided ones no longer exempt, right here at home?
Isn’t that exactly what China would do? Of course it is. Who thinks that China’s greening of its economy is going to come from factory imports of windmill makers in the Netherlands? We don’t.
And certainly no trade association in Beijing would convince Xi Jinping to import more US solar cells or modules.
Jeff Ferry, the chief economist for CPA, said China’s importers threatened a downturn in our solar industry, but instead “it continues to grow strongly in the United States, despite the pandemic.”
Some so-called U.S. solar manufacturers support SEIA and oppose tariffs because they are quietly importing their panels and components from China, while championing “Made in America” to naive consumers.