Senator Markey Slams Trump Solar Tariff as Job Killer, Harmful to Massachusetts Clean Energy Economy
Massachusetts leads the nation in solar jobs per capita, with 15,000
Boston (January 26, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) was joined today by solar energy and union leaders to blast the recent Trump administration decision to place a tariff on imported solar panels and cells, putting thousands of Massachusetts solar energy jobs at risk. At a press conference at SunBug Solar, a regional solar developer and installer based in Arlington, Massachusetts, Senator Markey pointed to the success of the solar energy industry in Massachusetts that supports nearly 15,000 jobs. The Trump solar tariff could lead to the loss of 23,000 solar jobs across the country. The solar industry had been poised to create 100,000 additional jobs over the next three years across the country, with 2,500 of them in Massachusetts.
“President Trump’s solar tariff is clouding prospects for the Massachusetts solar industry’s bright future, raising costs and attacking the growth of blue-collar jobs,” said Senator Markey, chair of the Senate Climate Task Force. “The Trump Tariff will hurt workers, hurt homeowners who want to save on their electricity bills, and hurt a future with cleaner air, cleaner water, and fewer impacts from climate change. We need to keep the sun shining on solar energy.”
“The U.S. solar industry is creating real and sustainable jobs every single day,” said Mark Sylvia, President of the Solar Energy Business Association of New England. “It is very sad that the Trump Administration has injected politics into this industry of the future by imposing a unnecessary tariff on imported solar cells and modules. This tariff will impact jobs, the cost of solar to consumers and the growth of solar installations. The President’s decision was both predictable and disheartening. Despite this action, the New England solar industry will continue to fight for sustainable good paying jobs, a better future for our children and energy independence for our region and for America.”
“The tariffs imposed by President Trump on imported solar panels do nothing but harm to our company, and to the thousands of other solar installers across the country,” said Nick d’Arbeloff, vice president of commercial for SunBug Solar. “While providing just a few domestic panel manufacturers with modest relief, Trump’s tariffs will stall a dynamic industry that has created over a quarter of a million well-paying jobs, and will further hinder our nation's efforts to forge a clean energy future.”
“These tariffs are a direct and deliberate step backwards for one of the fastest growing sectors in the American economy, said Jay Frasier of IBEW 103. “Unfortunately, this decision will have an immediate and negative impact on job creation in this sector. Large solar projects that require tens of thousands of solar panels won’t be built due to lack of inventory and dramatic cost increases. These installations provide hundreds and hundreds of jobs for IBEW Local 103 contractors and members every year. Increased tariffs mean increased costs for solar developers. Increased costs ultimately will lead to less projects and less jobs for electricians. These lost jobs will directly and negatively impact my members ability to earn a living.”
In October 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) recommended several measures in a trade case that could harm the domestic solar industry, including enacting steep new tariffs or instituting quotas. In August 2017, Senator Markey joined Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and a bipartisan group of Senators urging the ITC to not impose protectionist measures that would negatively affect the American solar industry. The Solar Energy Industries Association reports that 23,000 solar workers nationwide will lose jobs because of President Trump’s tariff.