In yet another attempt to bring down record-breaking gas prices, Joe Biden is trying his luck with solar.
According to ABC, President Biden ordered emergency measures Monday to increase U.S. manufacturing of solar panels and declared a two-year tariff exemption on panels from Southeast Asia as he attempted to jumpstart an industry key to his climate change-fighting goals.
White House officials said Biden’s actions aim to increase domestic production of solar panel parts, building installation materials, high-efficiency heat pumps, and other components like cells used for clean-energy generated fuels. They called the tariff suspension affecting imports from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Cambodia a bridge measure while other efforts increase domestic solar power production — even as the administration remains supportive of U.S. trade laws and the Commerce Department investigation.
But not everyone welcomed the move with open arms. Biden faced sharp criticism from major solar panel manufacturer First Solar Inc., which said freezing tariffs grants “unfettered access to China’s state-subsidized solar companies for the next two years” and that using the Defense Production Act is “an ineffective use of taxpayer dollars and falls well short of a durable solar industrial policy.”
“The administration cannot stick a Band-Aid on the issue and hope that it goes away,” Samantha Sloan, the company’s vice president of policy, said in a statement.
Asked at the White House if Biden’s pause in tariffs was not a gift to China, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said he was invoking the Defense Production Act, “to make sure that he’s delivering for the American people.”
“He is putting the full force of the federal government behind supporting American clean energy producers,” Jean-Pierre said.