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PNS Daily Newscast - October 20, 2017 


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Groups Urge Trump Administration to Save 88,000 Solar Jobs

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper warns that imposing tariffs on solar panels could result in the loss of 47 gigawatts of solar installations, representing billions of dollars of infrastructure investments. (Getty Images)
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper warns that imposing tariffs on solar panels could result in the loss of 47 gigawatts of solar installations, representing billions of dollars of infrastructure investments. (Getty Images)
September 27, 2017

DENVER - The solar-energy boom, which was responsible for creating one in every 50 new jobs in the United States last year, could be dealt what industry advocates are calling a crippling blow if a proposal to impose tariffs on imported solar panels goes forward.

On the other hand, said Tom Hunt, senior vice president of the Louisville-based Clean Energy Collective, if the Trump administration decides not to impose tariffs, some 88,000 jobs, including 2,000 in Colorado, could be saved.

"Those are jobs and that's investment, and those are tax dollars that directly benefit the local community," he said, "and it's energy that's going to be there for decades to come that's coming from right here at home."

On Friday, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that two foreign-owned manufacturers operating in the United States, Suniva and SolarWorld, were hurt by cheaper panel and cell imports. The commission will consider remedies at a hearing next week that include establishing a price floor and tariffs.

According to a census by the Solar Foundation, last year more than 260,000 people had solar jobs, and employment has tripled since 2010.

In a statement, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said he'll continue to point out the negative effects tariffs could have on the economy, and to advocate for remedies that don't result in large-scale layoffs in the clean-energy industry.

Abby Ross Hopper, president and chief executive of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said that because solar is carbon-free, slowing production also would hurt efforts to curb climate change.

"If we look at how we're going to achieve the goals that we need to achieve in order to stop global warming," she said, "solar needs to be an important part of that matrix."

Mother Jones magazine has reported that the conservative Heritage Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council and Goldman Sachs agree that tariffs would make U.S. solar less competitive and cost jobs.

The Solar Foundation census report is online at thesolarfoundation.org and the Mother Jones report is at motherjones.com.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO