DER, Energy Efficiency, Opinion & Commentary, Rooftop, Solar

Energy Cast Podcast: SEIA speaks on solar expansion

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Lots of opportunities for solar generation in the U.S.

Energy Cast is a podcast featuring some of the top experts across all links in the energy industry chain, including renewables, generation and more! Jay Dauenhauer created the show and has been hosting Energy Cast for several years.

Click below to listen to the full episode:

Last fall I was having coffee with a solar project developer here in Charlotte, and he told me he wasn’t sure if many more projects would be in the pipeline if the Suniva case went through.  He was talking about the U.S. International Trade Commission ruling in favor of Suniva and SolarWorld, which ruled unanimously that imported solar panels were harming domestic PV manufacturers.

In January 2018, President Trump signed into law a 30% tariff on solar panels, dropping each year over 5 years.

With the exception of a few members, The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has openly opposed the ITC ruling, implying Suniva and SolarWorld were, “attempting to exploit American trade laws to gain a bailout for their bad investments.”

This is not the first time foreign PV cells have faced tariffs.  In 2012 the ITC found China guilty of dumping solar cells, imposing a 30% tariff on those cells. SolarWorld was also involved in that case.

I spoke with SEIA’s VP of Communications, Dan Whitten, about this case, and what it could mean for the future of solar power in the United States.  Solar energy has exploded in the past decade, growing 60x in just ten years.  During this time, efficiency and costs have dropped, from $9/watt to less than $0.50.

Dan and I also discussed the challenges of supporting the interests of over 1,000 member companies, what new technologies could bring to the solar sector, and the challenges of lobbying for an administration that is a true outsider. (This article was originally posted in April 2018).

Energy Cast Podcast is hosted biweekly by Jay Dauenhauer.

Learn more about the podcast here.

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