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Health, Science & Environment

Ohio solar-related company supports exemption on tariffs for Southeast Asia solar imports

Solar panels gather sunlight in Florida.
John Raoux
Solar panels gather sunlight in Florida.

President Biden's two-year exemption on tariffs for solar panel imports from Southeast Asia is drawing support from some Ohio solar-related companies.

Solar installations had slowed in the U.S. amid a commerce department inquiry into possible trade violations involving Chinese solar products.

"So now that we have this period of certainty over the next two years, we certainly feel good about being able to meet some of that demand from these customers and hope that in conjunction with that the Defense Production Act will also spur domestic manufacturing,” said Richard Walsh, managing partner of Madison Energy Investments, which has more than a dozen solar projects in Ohio.

Walsh said importing panels from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam will allow many projects to go forward.

"That demand was going to be hard to meet if we had a large portion of the market we couldn't tap into for procurement,” Walsh said. “The demand that we're seeing from corporate customers, from schools, from universities in Ohio and around the country is at an all-time high and these organizations have aggressive ESG (environmental, societal, and governance) goals."

Some domestic producers though complain that Biden's actions would help China's state-subsidized solar companies at the expense of U.S. producers.

Health, Science & Environment Solar Powertariffs
Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.