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Import waivers aim to relieve stressed solar power industry

President Joe Biden paused new tariffs on solar panel imports from several southeast asian countries on June 6 in an effort to relax supply chain pressure on the solar power industry.
Jaime Henry-White
/
AP
President Joe Biden paused new tariffs on solar panel imports from several southeast asian countries on June 6 in an effort to relax supply chain pressure on the solar power industry.

A solar business owner in Montana says President Joe Biden's pause on new tariffs on solar panel imports is a relief in many ways.

Biden announced the pause on imports from several southeast Asian countries earlier this month in an effort to relax supply chain pressure on the solar power industry.

"I felt very encouraged by it," said Conor Darby with the Bozeman-based solar power contractor OnSite Energy.

The pause is partly in response to uncertainty in the industry at the prospect of retroactive tariffs on imports from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, which supply the majority of solar panels to the United States.

In March, the U.S. Department of Commerce launched an investigation into whether the four countries are sourcing material from China and skirting U.S. tariffs.

One Solar Energy Industries Association survey shows the investigation led to a rash of project delays and cancellations after it kicked off. Darby describes a trickle-down effect that has caused his business difficulties like limited product availability.

“There’s a lot volatility there as well as pricing pressures and the inability for manufacturers to give long-term purchase orders with fixed pricing,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Commerce is scheduled to present initial investigation findings in August.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.