Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senator Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) in responding to the U.S. Department of Commerce issuing a preliminary affirmative determination in their investigation into solar panels and cells imported from Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. Senator Cortez Masto has been a longtime proponent of renewable and sustainable energy. Along with Senator Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and her colleagues, she repeatedly called on the Biden administration to halt harmful solar panel tariffs, including in conversations with Cabinet officials and in a bipartisan letter.
The investigation itself has caused widespread cancellations and delays in the U.S. solar industry and threatened to expand harmful job-killing tariffs on solar imports and raise costs for consumers. The solar industry employs over 230,000 American workers, including more than 6,000 Nevadans. According to a report issued by the Solar Energy Industries Association, 70 percent of U.S. companies say at least half of their solar workforce is at risk as a result of this investigation.
“If we are serious about investing in a clean energy future and creating hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, we need to ensure that solar projects across the U.S. have access to the basic components needed to operate, grow, and thrive,” said the senators. “While the Department of Commerce rightfully narrowed the scope of its decision as compared to the original petition, we are concerned that this decision will still harm domestic solar efforts, hinder our clean energy goals, and hurt American jobs. In order to continue supporting such a critical industry and protecting good-paying American jobs, we urge the Biden Administration to take additional action by extending the two-year pause on new solar tariffs and expediting the implementation of the solar provisions, including the solar manufacturing tax credits, from the Inflation Reduction Act.”
In June, following Senator Cortez Masto and her colleagues’ efforts, the Biden Administration announced a two-year suspension of solar tariffs that could have killed American jobs and increased solar costs, in addition to a new plan to use the Defense Production Act to boost domestic solar manufacturing. Senator Cortez Masto secured billions in investments to increase solar and geothermal energy production through expanded tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act. The bill also includes portions of her legislation to make it easier for Tribes in Nevada to launch critical energy development projects. Senator Cortez Masto also introduced legislation to expand the solar manufacturing supply chain in the U.S. She secured vital extensions of the Investment Tax Credit and the residential renewable energy tax credit for solar in the 2020 government 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. The senator has also spoken against the imposition of tariffs under prior administrations, and she has worked to protect Nevada’s clean energy jobs and our state’s place as a leader in solar energy.