Peter Welch goes to bat for domestic solar energy producers

By Maggie Calzaretta | Community News Service

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch on Friday praised President Joe Biden’s recent moves to boost solar energy in the wake of the administration’s trade inquiry into Southeast Asian producers, which industry leaders say has stymied solar installations.

“Federal policies must be helpful, not harmful,” said Welch, one of 80 lawmakers who signed a letter to the president last month urging the administration to soften the inquiry’s blow on domestic solar energy.

Community News Service/Maggie Calzaretta

Chad Farrel and Paul Lesure chat with Rep. Peter Welch before last Friday’s press conference.

Welch, who is running for Vermont’s open Senate seat, spoke about those issues outside Green Mountain Solar in South Burlington that morning alongside the company’s president and founder, Paul Lesure, and Chad Farrel, CEO of Encore Renewable Energy in Burlington.

Biden on Monday, June 6, issued a two-year pause on tariffs against solar products from Southeast Asia and invoked the federal Defense Production Act, which allows the White House to direct production from manufacturers to jumpstart alternative energy sectors. The moves came in response to a Department of Commerce investigation examining whether solar imports from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam contained Chinese parts, which are subject to tariffs.

Solar industry leaders believe the inquiry could threaten scores of planned projects and lead to thousands of layoffs.

“It’s all scary for financials, but also for customers and employees,” Lesure said. “Without panels, installers have no jobs.”

Lesure and Farrel said they believed their companies’ futures were jeopardized by the trade inquiry.

The business owners described times when they had to tell employees they wouldn’t have work for the next week because solar installations were down. Biden’s actions, they said, gave them hope that the domestic supply chain for alternative energy products would continue to grow.

Both Lesure and Farrel called for greater federal control over renewable power sources.

“We need a strong domestic solar supply chain,” Farrel said. “Jobs around the country must not be outsourced overseas.”

Welch stressed his appreciation for the administration’s response and said the hold on import tariffs is good for homeowners, the clean energy initiative and affordable energy efforts.

He also focused on the importance of manufacturing and installing affordable electric parts domestically, especially crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and panels, which had been under tariff.

The next steps? The trio stressed two points: the continued use of the Domestic Production Act to expand American clean energy manufacturing and passing environmental legislation with incentives for adopting renewable energy.

The Community News Service is part of the Reporting and Documentary Storytelling Program at the University of Vermont.

Image courtesy of Community News Service/Maggie Calzaretta

5 thoughts on “Peter Welch goes to bat for domestic solar energy producers

  1. if solar is so great why hasn’t Peter Welch asked Obama why he hasn’t put a set of solar panels on his beach manison(s)? Lots of sunshine on the beach. Instead, Obmaa knows the truth….there is nothing like a good, dependable fossil fuel….and he put in 2,500 gallons worth of liquid fossil fuel PROPANE to run his house. Not solar. Peter welch should also ask Obama, why Obama bought TWO ocean front mansions (Martha’s Vineyard and Hawaii)…….to the tune of about $25,000,000 worth….if Obama is a climate change believer and John Kerry tells Obama often that the oceans will rise and consume his BOTH homes within a handful of years. Ho Hum….Obama knows Kerry is a dope….Kerry has been saying the same thing for close to four decades.

    AND THIS! CAN YOU IMAGINE if TRUMP put in 2,500 gallon propane tanks on his FL mansion? And they cost WELL OVER $100,000 to FILL THEM? OMG…the outrage and Media would make a DAILY spectacle of class eney, class earfare….rich people stink. SO WHY not same for Obama? double standards are rife & plentiful with every Democrat.

  2. Without immense government subsidies alternative energy would suffer a quick and painful death.
    Similar to other ongoing useless subsidization programs which we all pay for.
    When will it end?

    When it does end, it won’t be nice.

    • It will end when Dem/Progs are voted out en masse in November, 2022.

      The turnkey capital cost of solar systems sold in the US, which contain mostly Chinese content, has increased by 25% from start 2020 to June 2022, due to Biden teleprompter controller energy policies, and the federal reserve printing $5.9 trillion to cover federal deficits (demand for US bonds has dried up), and increased prices of materials to make solar panels.

      The Biden posse just made it easier for China, etc., to sell more panels and made it more difficult for high-cost US manufacturers to sell THEIR PRESENT QUANTITIES of panels. Welch is all in favor of putting China first.

      The U.S. and Vermont solar system installer companies are complaining there is not enough work, but that would require a decrease of the turnkey capital cost of solar systems, which is not about to happen with 8.6% inflation rates (the massaged number, about 17% (the real number), and interest rates increasing, and supply chain interruptions, and increased wages and benefit costs, all of which will further increase the turnkey capital cost of solar systems, and decrease investor appetite for more solar systems, unless subsidies were increased even more to offset all that.

      Please let me know if I missed anything.

  3. they’re such frauds. reducing tariffs hurts American jobs and guarantees increased pollution. How do people vote for these imbeciles? I can’t understand anyone being that ignorant.

  4. U.S. Rep. Peter Welch on Friday ” praised ” President Joe Biden’s recent moves to boost solar
    energy and Welch goes to ” bat” for domestic solar energy producers….. wow, are these the same
    US producers that are buying foreign parts, because the Democrats and Wall Street sent all our US
    jobs and production overseas……………..Yup, fools in charge !!

    Joe & Peter handle the economy about as well as Joe rides a bike….. pretty pathetic on both

Comments are closed.