Cheap solar panels imported from China and other countries have led to a boom in the U.S. solar industry, where rooftop and other installations have surged 10-fold since 2011.
But two U.S. solar manufacturers say the flood of imports has led one to bankruptcy and forced the other to lay off three-quarters of its workforce.
The International Trade Commission is set to decide Friday whether the imports, primarily from Asia, are causing “serious injury” to the companies. If so, the commission will recommend this fall whether the Trump administration should impose tariffs that could double the price of solar panels from abroad.
President Donald Trump has not cozied up to the solar industry the way he has to coal and other fossil fuels, but he’s considered sympathetic to imposing tariffs on solar imports as part of his “America first” philosophy. A White House spokeswoman declined to comment Thursday.
Both sides of the dispute were making their case ahead of Friday’s meeting.
“Simply put, the U.S. industry cannot survive under current market conditions,” a lawyer for Georgia-based Suniva wrote in a petition filed with the commission. Suniva brought the case with Oregon-based SolarWorld Americas.
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