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Biden's solar tariff veto stands after US House vote doesn't reach majority


Biden vetoed Congressional Review Act legislation

Vowed not to extend the two-year moratorium on tariffs

  • Author
  • Kassia Micek
  • Editor
  • Marieke Alsguth
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power Energy Transition

The US House of Representatives did not reach the two-thirds majority needed to override President Joe Biden's veto of a bipartisan resolution from Congress that would overturn his two-year solar tariff moratorium.

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A two-thirds majority vote in both the Senate and the House could have overridden the president's veto, but it was not expected to reach majority. The House vote on Biden's veto of the Congressional Review Act took place May 24.

In his May 16 veto, Biden vowed not to extend the two-year moratorium on solar tariffs. The move postpones any new duties on solar cells and modules imported into the US from China. Biden said in his veto statement that he believes the Commerce Department moratorium will help America to raise its domestic solar panel manufacturing capacity eight-fold by the end of his first term.

The Solar Energy Industries Association celebrated the outcome, with President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper saying the US solar and storage industry is creating job opportunities. SEIA is the largest solar trade group.

"This moratorium will serve as an important bridge as we expand domestic manufacturing and strengthen the solar and storage supply chain with more American products," Ross Hopper said in a May 24 statement. "Finally, with this business certainty in hand, solar companies can get back to building our country's clean energy future."

The Congressional Review Act would restore duties on solar cells and modules imported into the US from China.

Solar tariffs investigation

The US Department of Commerce is expected to issue on Aug. 17 its final decision on whether companies in Southeast Asia were circumventing Anti-Dumping/Countervailing Duties imposed on Chinese solar products. Commerce opened the investigation in March 2022.

Commerce announced its preliminary decision Dec. 2, which found four companies - BYD Hong Kong in Cambodia, Canadian Solar and Trina in Thailand, and Vina Solar in Vietnam – to be circumventing the solar tariffs. Four other companies were found to be not circumventing, while some companies in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam did not respond to Commerce's request for information in this investigation.

S&P Global Commodity Insights projects 33.8 GW of solar generation additions in 2023 and 37.8 GW in 2024, Alex Kaplan, senior research analyst, adding the change in the final decision release date doesn't change S&P Global Commodity Insights projections, but the actual decision will once it is published.