Energy Secretary says administration is working on relief for solar industry amide investigation

“I know the administration is working on a few things; I wish I could give you more,” Granholm told reporters. “But stay tuned on that. The sooner the better.”

Solar projects around the country have been halted as the Commerce Department investigates a claim that many of the solar panels and parts imported into the US use components from China that should be subject to US tariffs.
More than 300 solar projects in the US had already been delayed or canceled as of late April, according to a survey by the Solar Energy Industries Association, a non-profit trade group. Solar CEOs told CNN they expect more cancellations to follow, and fear the probe could devastate the solar workforce.

Granholm said she was “deeply concerned” about the nation’s ability to deploy the amount of solar needed to meet President Joe Biden’s 2035 goal for 100% clean electricity.

“There’s a desire not to pressure, of course, a [Commerce] quasi-judicial proceeding, but of course there is deep concern about how long this takes,” she added.

Granholm didn’t give more details on the content or timing of the options the administration was looking at.

She added that she understood Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s “hands are tied” undergoing the solar tariff investigation. Commerce officials have said the investigation is slated to have its initial finding by late August, but its final determination could take longer.

The investigation was launched after one small US-based company, Auxin Solar, filed a complaint in February. Auxin CEO Mamun Rashid told CNN earlier this month that the complaint “was existential” for his company.

“When prices of finished panels from Southeast Asia come in below our bill of materials cost, American manufacturers cannot compete,” Rashid said, adding that “if foreign producers are circumventing US law and causing harm to US producers like Auxin Solar, it needs to be addressed.”

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