Rosen: “President Biden, we need action today – not next week, next month or later this summer. Hundreds of thousands of American solar workers, their families, our communities, they are counting on you.
WATCH/DOWNLOAD VIDEO OF FULL SPEECH HERE
WASHINGTON DC – Today US Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) led a group of colleagues to deliver speeches in the Senate on the Department of Commerce’s misguided investigation into imported solar panels that threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs American solar panels by increasing tariffs. Rosen urged President Biden and his administration to expedite the investigation’s resolution to protect jobs and help us meet our climate goals. Joining Senator Rosen’s efforts are Senators Cortez Masto (D-NV), Carper (D-DE) and Bennet (D-CO).
Senator Rosen has led the fight against this inquiry and the job-killing solar tariffs it may enact. In March she spearhead a bipartisan group of a dozen senators to urge Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to carefully assess the validity of the petition filed to investigate and expand solar tariffs. Following news that the Department of Commerce had launched an investigation based on the flawed petition, Senator Rosen press Secretary Raimondo about rushing this investigation into a watchdog hearing and then led a bipartisan group of 21 colleagues in a letter urging the Biden administration to expedite and bring the investigation to a speedy conclusion.
Watch Senator Rosen’s full remarks here.
Below are Senator Rosen’s remarks as delivered:
For years, solar power has been a growing source of clean, low-cost energy and economic development in my state of Nevada and states across our country…. Surely states like yours, Mr. President, in California.
But Nevada currently has the nation’s largest solar economy, with the most solar jobs per capita — per capita — of any state.
Supporting solar energy creates jobs in the United States, and those jobs help us transition to clean, renewable energy.
Our national solar industry is made up of more than 10,000 companies, large and small, located in every state, employing more than 250,000 American workers.
But right now, the US solar industry is in jeopardy. All the progress we’ve made in transitioning to clean energy and dramatically reducing energy costs for American families, well, that’s in jeopardy.
Hundreds of thousands of high-paying solar jobs are at risk due to a Commerce Department investigation into imported solar panels.
The success of our national solar industry depends on a steady supply of solar panels for installation. If we don’t have the panels to install, we don’t have, we just don’t have a domestic solar industry.
Unfortunately, solar panel manufacturers in the US can only meet the needs of 15-15% of US solar projects.
This leaves 85% of solar projects without any access to solar panels, and it requires – requires – importing solar panels.
And let me say something very clear: I support 100 percent the acceleration of domestic solar manufacturing so that one day all of our solar panels and cells can be made in the United States.
And, I introduced a bipartisan bill with Senator Jerry Moran to do just that.
However, today we simply do not have the ability or capacity to manufacture enough panels to keep up with demand or to support the hundreds of thousands of American workers – many of whom work in unionized jobs – whose means to livelihoods depend on access to available and affordable solar panels.
Utilities across the country, and especially in southwestern states, are turning to renewable solar power, and they’ve already hired workers and, in many cases, made multimillion-dollar investments. dollars to do it.
These are well-paid jobs, which often require special expertise to install and maintain our solar installations.
But since the administration launched its investigation, there have been numerous reports of project cancellations and layoffs.
It has thrown the whole solar industry into uncertainty and it threatens jobs, it brings us back to our clean energy goals, and it just sends, well, it sends the wrong message to our communities as they plan their infrastructure investments.
An industry report says that as a result of the solar freeze, over 80% of US solar businesses – I want to repeat – over 80% of US solar businesses are facing cancellations, they’re facing delays on all the materials they need.
Projects are on pause, businesses are threatened with closure, and American jobs — people’s livelihoods — are in jeopardy.
Earlier this month, the state of Indiana announced that due to the investigation it would not be able to complete its solar projects on time and will have to keep its coal-fired plant open for several years from now. more than originally expected. They won’t be able to finish their solar panels in time.
And in my home state of Nevada, NV Energy, the state’s largest electric utility, said the investigation was massively disrupting several Nevada solar projects that would provide low-cost electricity to more than 114,000 homes.
This undermines President Biden’s own clean energy goals and reverses our progress toward clean, renewable energy.
I outlined all of this in bipartisan letters I directed to the Commerce Department and the White House, signed by nearly a quarter of the Senate, including many of the colleagues you will hear from today.
If the Department of Commerce continues on the path we are on and enacts additional, retroactive solar tariffs, over 100,000 American jobs could be lost.
Across the country, hard-working families will feel the pain of this decision that will drive up energy costs — it will drive up energy costs.
Americans are already in a hurry at the gas pump, facing historic inflation, [and] pay more for groceries. We cannot allow home energy costs to rise as well.
The administration can prevent this outcome and ease the panic in the solar industry by quickly ending the Department of Commerce’s flawed investigation.
I understand and respect the Department of Commerce’s need to thoroughly investigate any allegations of unfair trading practices, but as I have pointed out, this petition is built on a house of cards.
The request for investigation was filed by a single solar company – relying on data from researchers who say the company’s claims are false and that the claims in the complaint do not accurately reflect their research.
We can’t let this one company use the data in a deceptive way to destroy hundreds of thousands of American jobs.
We need to support and grow our solar manufacturing in the United States, and I’m ready to work with all of my colleagues to make that possible – but there are supply needs that need to be met right now, and we can’t. simply expand domestic solar manufacturing overnight.
It’s not one or the other. We have to do both.
American jobs are at stake and we need a resolution.
So, I again call on the Commerce Department and the White House to use every resource at their disposal to expedite this process and get American solar power – well, let’s get back on track.
President Biden, we need action today – not next week, next month or later this summer.
Hundreds of thousands of American solar workers, their families, our communities, they are counting on you.