Solar advocates fear the trade dispute could imperil the Biden administration's goal of producing 45% of U.S. electricity supply from solar by 2050. The U.S. Dept. of Energy's Solar Futures Study calls for the U.S. to install an average of 30 GW of solar capacity per year between now and 2025, then 60 GW per year from 2025. U.S. solar module manufacturers have the capacity to produce about half of the domestic demand, according to a SEIA/Wood Mackenzie report.
“SEIA was right to assert that the tariffs have failed the U.S. industry," Hopper said in the letter. "We forecasted that the Section 201 tariffs would cause significant loss of deployment, jobs, and investment, and we now know that at least 10 gigawatts of solar installations, 62,000 American solar jobs and $19 billion in investment has been lost as a result. Meanwhile, the petitioners in the Section 201 case expected the tariffs to lead to 45,000 new manufacturing jobs when we actually lost thousands of manufacturing jobs in the four years since."
Meanwhile, a report released in September by SEIA and Wood Mackenzie found that solar prices increased quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year for the first time since Wood Mackenzie began modeling solar market prices in 2014.
The most significant price increases are being seen with input costs, like steel and aluminum, and elevated freight costs.
“The solar industry continues to demonstrate strong quarterly growth, and demand is high across every segment,” said Michelle Davis, principal analyst at Wood Mackenzie and lead author of the report. “But the industry is now bumping up against multiple challenges, from elevated equipment prices to complex interconnection processes. Addressing these challenges will be critical to expanding the industry’s growth and meeting clean energy targets.”
Wood Mackenzie forecasts an annual average of 29 GW of solar capacity additions through 2026, far short of the pace needed to reach President Biden's goal of solar representing 45% of the U.S. electricity supply by 2050. Average annual solar capacity additions must reach 80 GW from 2022 through 2035 to meet the goal.
John Engel is a Content Director for Clarion Events. For the past decade, John has worked as a journalist across various mediums -- print, digital, radio, and television -- covering sports, news, and politics. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife, Malia. Have a story idea or a pitch? Email John at firstname.lastname@example.org.