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U.S. Energy Company Halts 1.5 GW of Solar Projects Due to Trump Tariffs

U.S. Energy Company Halts 1.5 GW of Solar Projects Due to Trump Tariffs

Cypress Creek Renewables, one of the United States’ largest developers of utility-scale solar, has stopped investments in 1.5 gigawatts of renewable energy projects, worth $1.5 billion, due to Trump administration tariffs on imported solar technology, which the company said made the costs of the projects too high, according to Bloomberg and Greentech Media.
The solar farms were slated for sites across the country, from California to the Carolinas. In total, they represent 20 percent of Cypress Creek Renewables’ projects in development.
“Because utility-scale solar is extremely price-sensitive, the tariff forced us to re-evaluate some of our projects,” Jeff McKay, communications director at Cypress Creek, told Greentech Media. “We can confidently say that we will not be able to move forward with $1.5 billion… of projects as things stand now.”

Cypress Creek has joined seven other renewable energy companies in asking the Trump administration for a tariff exemption on 72-cell, 1,500-volt crystalline silicon photovoltaic panels, which generate more watts-per-panel than standard 60-cell modules and are therefore often used in utility-scale projects. Last week, eight Republican senators joined the companies, arguing the exemption will “preserve tens of thousands of existing solar manufacturing and development jobs, foster market expansion, and allow the U.S. to once again fairly compete in the global marketplace for energy production technologies,” they wrote in a letter.

Source:  YaleEnvironment360

By: E360 Digest

May 15, 2018



NEW: A group of eight Republican senators send a letter to the , and calling for utility-scale panels to be exempted from the .




GOP Senators Want to Exempt Giant Solar-Farm Panels From Tariffs

Updated on

Republican senators from five states with big solar farms are asking the Trump administration to exempt the workhorse of industrial solar panels from tariffs imposed earlier this year.

The group of eight senators led by North Carolina’s Thom Tillis urged the administration to waive duties on 72-cell, 1,500-volt panels that are ideal for large ground-mounted “utility-scale” projects, according to a letter which was tweeted Friday by the Solar Energy Industries Association. The panels are too big for household rooftops and are only used on giant solar farms or vast, flat-topped warehouses.

Thom Tillis

Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg

“That’s the Ford F-150 of the solar world,” said Jeffrey Osborne, an industry analyst at Cowen & Co. Shielding those panels from 30 percent import tariffs would also likely increase costs for residential rooftops as the supply chain shifts to the duty-free products. “Ironically, it would hurt consumers the most.”

Much of the solar power produced by developers in states like North Carolina, South Carolina and Colorado comes from the large modules the senators are seeking to exempt. The move would cut the developers’ costs and spur solar job growth, according to the letter dated May 9 that they sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Yet granting an exclusion for those imported panels would harm the U.S. manufacturers that committed to expand domestic production since the tariffs were imposed earlier this year, said Hugh Bromley, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That includes First Solar Inc., SunPower Corp. and JinkoSolar Holding Co.

Solar Jobs

Industry employment declined in 2017 amid the threat of tariffs

Source: The Solar Foundation

Note: 2018 is a forecast based on a 2017 survey

“All the announcements since the tariffs came out are to build this larger-form factor that go into utility-scale projects,” Bromley said in an interview. “It would take away their advantage.”

Cypress Creek Renewables LLC, one of the largest U.S. developers of utility-scale solar farms, has canceled $1.5 billion worth of planned projects because the tariffs increased costs too much, according to Hewitt Strange, director of government affairs.

The letter was signed by Senators Tillis and Richard Burr of North Carolina, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott of South Carolina, Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts of Kansas, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Dean Heller of Nevada.

“We are hugely thankful for their support,” Cypress Creek’s Strange said by phone. Removing the tariffs “will enable construction of a lot more solar.”

— With assistance by Brian Eckhouse



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