Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) spoke on the Senate floor about the urgent need for the administration to act to protect jobs in Nevada’s booming solar energy industry. An investigation into solar panels by the Department of Commerce has caused disruption to the solar industry because of concerns that it could result in harmful tariffs that create uncertainty, threaten renewable progress, and put jobs at risk.
During her speech, Senator Cortez Masto highlighted her work to support Nevada’s booming renewable energy industry, which is the largest in the nation, stating, “In 2020, I helped to secure extensions of the investment tax credit and the residential renewable energy tax credit for solar, so that we could increase private sector investments in this critical sector.”
She went on to outline how the Commerce Department’s ongoing investigation into imported solar panels is having a chilling effect on the entire solar industry, impeding progress and threatening good-paying jobs across the state. “In the solar industry, right now, everything is on hold,” she said. “There’s concerns that, depending on how the investigation of this rolls out, there could be retroactive tariffs applied to these solar industries—more costs to these solar industries… If nothing’s moving forward, nobody’s getting the benefits of that investment tax credit that I fought so hard for under the previous administration.”
Currently, approximately 80% of solar panels used in American projects are imported from overseas. Senator Cortez Masto has been a longtime proponent of domestic solar manufacturing, but she outlined the need for a longer on-ramp to ensure domestic solar manufacturing companies can achieve the capacity that they need to move forward.
She went on to say, “I will tell you: the Nevada solar industry is the largest in the nation. The industry supports more jobs per capita in my state than in any other, and many of those are union jobs. And they’re on hold right now, and nothing is moving forward right now… My concern is, hundreds of union-trained workers whose progress on building out our critical solar capacity will be at risk if they can’t get the material they need to move forward quickly, we are slowing down not only the potential to—not only meet that clean-energy future, but we are slowing our economy, and we are putting too many of our good-paying union workers out of jobs right now.”
She concluded her speech by once again urging the Commerce Department to end the uncertainty in Nevada’s solar industry by swiftly concluding the investigation.
As she discussed in her speech, Senator Cortez Masto has been a longtime proponent of renewable and sustainable energy. She secured an extension of the Investment Tax Credit and the residential renewable energy tax credit for solar in the 2020 Omnibus funding bill. Senator Cortez Masto was able to successfully advocate for two additional years of renewable energy tax credits for the solar industry and its workers. She’s also pushed against harmful solar tariffs. Earlier this year, she joined a bipartisan group of senators in a letter urging President Joe Biden to expedite and bring to a swift conclusion the administration’s investigation into imported solar panels and cells. The senator has also spoken against harmful solar panel tariffs, and she has worked to protect Nevada’s clean energy jobs and our state’s place as a leader in solar energy.