SEIA’s president Abigail Ross Hopper sent a personal letter to President Trump as a final plea to save solar jobs, expecting Trump to make his tariff decision tomorrow, Jan. 18.
Hopper delivered the letter to Trump and other top federal officials. Read the letter in full below:
Dear President Trump:
I am writing you on the eve of your decision on solar tariffs to make a personal plea to consider the real impact on American jobs and our economy. A decision to impose high tariffs in line with the International Trade Commission’s recommendation will lead to the layoff of tens of thousands of workers, cause companies to stop investing in the United States and bring an American economic engine screeching to a halt.
Ironically, the very jobs we all want to grow, American manufacturing jobs, will retract as the number of projects are scaled back significantly. This is not hype; this is what will happen. American companies manufacture, among other things, steel and aluminum racking systems, inverters and tracking devices. Raising solar prices, as these tariffs would do, would reduce demand for those downstream products and kill manufacturing jobs.
Li-Anh Bayard, project administrator at Swinerton Renewable Energy, said, “When we first heard about the trade case at the site, everyone immediately started signing letters to their congressmen and women to let them know how important these jobs are not only to the solar industry, but local communities.”
Joseph O’Keefe, a project manager for Standard Solar told us, “If my job were to be impacted in this, you know, we would certainly have some tough decisions to make.…There would be thousands of workers just like me unemployed, looking for the same jobs, looking for the same positions throughout the region.”
DeJuan Humphries, a crew lead at New Columbia Solar, said the prospects of high tariffs was “very upsetting. You know I count on this job pretty much to provide for my family. I’m a single dad. So pretty much it would definitely be an unfortunate situation if something like that happened.”
While it may seem counterintuitive, the real America First Plan in the solar sector requires us to protect and add to the jobs we have. This will help national security, add jobs, boost innovation and help the economy. As I know you’ve read, we employ more than 260,000 Americans in well-paid jobs. Most of our jobs do not require a college education.
Victory in this case means saying no to high tariffs, permitting this incredible growth industry to flourish and allowing Li-Anh, Joseph, and DeJuan to keep their jobs.
Abigail Ross Hopper, Esq.
President & CEO
Solar Energy Industries Association
The Honorable Robert Lighthizer, Ambassador, United States Trade Representative
The Honorable Kevin Hassett, Chair, Council of Economic Advisors
The Honorable Gary Cohn, Director, National Economic Council
The Honorable Wilbur Ross, Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce
The Honorable Rick Perry, Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy
The Honorable Rex Tillerson, Secretary, U.S. Department of State
The Honorable Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
The Honorable Steven Mnuchin, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury
The Honorable James Mattis, Secretary, U.S. Department of Defense