Today’s ruling by the International Trade Commission threatens to put the brakes on the vibrant growth of Colorado’s solar industry, and to make it harder for Coloradans to go solar. COSEIA will continue to work hard with partners around the nation to ensure that trade protections are not imposed that will hinder our progress.
The growth of our industry has been dramatic in recent years, with enough solar to power about 200,000 homes in the state and more than 6,000 people working in the industry.
Much of the growth has been fueled by dramatic price declines of about 65% in the last five years. This has made solar affordable to more and more Coloradans. We know that the potential of solar is still in its infancy, with a recent statewide poll showing that 80% of Coloradans want more solar energy. Now representing less than 2 % of the state’s power mix, solar is a young technology growing into a mainstream energy source.
But Friday’s ruling by the International Trade Commission found that the domestic crystalline silicon solar cell industry was injured by imports, based on a petition brought by two companies. Suniva, a Chinese-owned company that has filed for bankruptcy brought the petition and it is supported by SolarWorld, a German-owned solar company.
According to Abby Hopper, the CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, “Analysts say Suniva’s remedy proposal will double the price of solar, destroy two-thirds of demand, erode billions of dollars in investment and unnecessarily force 88,000 Americans to lose their jobs in 2018.”
Estimates are that about 2,000 Colorado solar jobs are in danger. COSEIA worked this summer to oppose the petition,and both Colorado’s U.S. Senators along with three U.S. House representatives signed on to opposition letters at our urging.
Gov. John Hickenlooper also was one of four governors who sent a letter yesterday voicing opposition and saying in part that tariffs “could inflict a devastating blow on our states’ solar industries and lead to unprecedented job loss, at steep cost to our states’ economies.”
We will continue to work with partners around the nation as the next phase moves forward to recommend a remedy. We will seek to ensure that the solar industry in Colorado and around the nation is protected from damaging tariffs. A remedy hearing is scheduled for October 3 and we will keep you posted as the case goes forward. If you are able to attend that hearing in Washington, D.C., your presence would be very welcome! Here is a link to RSVP. Feel free to reach out with your thoughts and suggestions.