Georgia senators lead push to increase tariffs on Chinese solar panels

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Both of Georgia’s U.S. Senators, Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock, are leading an effort to increase tariffs on imported Chinese solar products.

The letter, signed by Ossoff, Warnock, and Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), asks the administration of President Joe Biden to increase tariffs on Chinese solar imports to protect American manufacturing efforts.

Ossoff’s and his co-signers’ letter to the Biden Administration notes that U.S.-made solar panels are 60% more expensive per watt than their Chinese competitors, due to “China’s heavily subsidized products.” The cost difference is noted in a report from December, cited by the senators.

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The senators said that the government-subsidized solar products made in China are hurting the U.S.’ work to move more solar panel production back to America, which they described as a key energy security goal for the country.

“China’s aggressive subsidies for its own solar manufacturing industry demonstrate its intent to control the industry globally,” the senators wrote in their letter. “By 2026, China will have enough capacity to meet annual global demand for the next 10 years. This capacity is an existential threat to the U.S. solar industry and American energy security.”

To combat this threat, the senators are urging the president to increase tariffs on Chinese-manufactured solar panels under provisions of Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974.

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“We must not allow China to destroy U.S. manufacturing and control this strategic energy sector. Therefore, as you continue your Section 301 review, we urge you to increase and enforce tariffs on these Chinese solar products that threaten U.S. economic and energy security,” the letter reads.

Additionally, use of the tariffs to impose further costs on Chinese products will, according to the senators, avoid potential harm to thousands of workers employed by solar panel manufacturers in the U.S.

As the U.S. continues its push to use more renewable energy, a Biden priority, the Internal Revenue Service is enacting a new clean energy credit.

The Residential Clean Energy Credit covers the purchase and installation of qualified clean energy property for homeowners from 2022 to 2032, providing what’s called an Investment Tax Credit for 30% of costs, though it phases it down to 26% through 2033 and against to 22% by 2034.

The energy credits can be taken for residents who made energy-saving improvements to homes located in the United States, according to the IRS.

However, the IRS said “the credit is nonrefundable, so the credit amount you receive can’t exceed the amount you owe in tax,” while also being available without having a lifetime or annual dollar limit. Unused credit for these energy improvement projects can also be carried forward to future tax years, the IRS said.

To use the credit on your taxes, going forward, you’ll need to file an IRS form 5695.

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