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CEO DATELINE - Court sides with solar association on tariffs

Nov. 17, 2021
By Walt Williams

A federal court has ruled in favor of a lawsuit brought by the Solar Energy Industries Association and three solar companies over tariffs imposed on imported solar panels, the news site E&E News reported Wednesday.

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The lawsuit concerns tariffs imposed on “bifacial” solar panels that generate electricity on both the side facing the sun and the underside. Former President Donald Trump excluded bifacial solar panels from import tariffs imposed on solar panels in 2018 but reversed that decision two years later, prompting the lawsuit. President Joe Biden kept the tariffs in place.

The U.S. Court of International Trade sided with SEIA and the companies in a decision issued Tuesday. The court rule that Trump exceeded his authority because federal trade statutes allow presidents to lift tariffs but not enact new restrictions, E&E News reported.

The court also reduced the tariff rate on other panels from 18% to 15% after it was raised to 18% by Trump.

In a statement, SEIA CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said the court’s ruling “was clearly the right conclusion.”

“We are committed to building the U.S. solar manufacturing supply chain and we believe there are policies in the Build Back Better Act that will help grow American manufacturing,” she said, referencing the reconciliation spending package being pushed by Democrats.

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