WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) introduced a bipartisan bill to repeal President Trump’s decision to impose up to 30 percent tariffs on imported solar cells and panels that jeopardize tens of thousands of American solar jobs. Under the Protecting American Solar Jobs Act, duties and tariffs would default back to previous rates and allow companies that imported any affected solar products under this new tariff to receive retroactive reimbursement.
“President Trump’s decision to impose a new import tax on solar energy equipment harms hundreds of locally-owned companies, jeopardizes tens of thousands of workers, and stifles billions of dollars in investment in communities and manufacturing in New Mexico and across the country,” said Senator Heinrich. “We need to look at the bigger picture of the American solar industry and its role as a major employer of American workers. The bipartisan Protecting American Solar Jobs Act would reverse the harmful tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration and put American workers first.”
“Nevada continues to be a national leader in solar innovation. In fact, solar energy powers countless homes, businesses, and even resorts and casinos across our state,” said Senator Heller. “Our bipartisan bill protects Nevadans’ jobs in this important sector by reversing the 30 percent tax on solar panels, a tariff that threatens jobs and has the potential to harm our economy. I thank Senator Heinrich for his leadership on this issue, and I look forward to working with him to pass our proposal into law so that Nevada can continue to build on its renewable energy progress.”
New Mexico has seen major job growth in the solar industry thanks to the rapidly declining cost of solar power. Investment in solar energy in New Mexico has surpassed 1.5 billion dollars and nearly 3,000 New Mexico workers are employed in local companies that manufacture equipment, install residential rooftop solar, and build utility-scale solar installations. Nevada is witnessing a similar trend when it comes to the solar industry’s explosive growth, falling prices, and job creation. More than 120 solar companies support roughly 6,500 jobs and power more than 425,000 homes.
According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, the 30 percent tariff on imported solar cells and panels will cause the loss of about 23,000 American jobs in 2018, as well as the delay or cancellation of billions of dollars of investments in solar energy.
“We are grateful for the work Sens. Heller and Heinrich are doing to reverse the ill-conceived tariffs on solar cells and panels,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO for the Solar Energy Industries Association. “The legislation will correct a policy that has had harmful effects on solar development and slowed down a jobs-creating engine that can transform America’s clean energy economy to the benefit of all Americans.”
A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives (H. R. 5571).
A copy of the Protecting American Solar Jobs Act is available here.