Experts Only Podcast #110: Understanding the Department of Commerce Tariff with Abby Hopper

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Transcript

Jon Powers:

Welcome back to Experts Only. I’m your host, Jon Powers. I’m the co-founder of CleanCapital, and served as President Obama’s chief sustainability officer. On this podcast, we explore solutions to climate change by talking to industry leaders about the intersection of energy, innovation, and finance. You can get more episodes at CleanCapital.com.

Jon Powers:

Welcome, Abby, and welcome, everyone, to our webinar today. First of all, thanks clearly for joining. There’s been a tremendous amount of interest in this topic. We had over 250 RSVPs to this conversation. I’m going to make a quick introduction, and introduce Abby as we dive into the conversation.

Jon Powers:

In 2021, the US solar market installed over almost 24 gigawatts of solar capacity, which is about a 19% increase since 2020. So solar kind of 46% of all new electric-generating capacity in the US in 2021. That’s the third year in a row solar’s made up the largest share.

Jon Powers:

Clearly our market, the things that we care about, our industry continues to grow and scale, and there’s been a push to drive domestic manufacturing through levels like direct pay, for instance. Policymakers are trying to push for our industry to manufacture more here in the US. But just to be clear, according to Wood Mackenzie, we currently manufacture about 7.5 gigawatts of PVs annually, with a global capacity of nearly 400 gigawatts. Clearly, our domestic manufacturing is not yet where we need it to be to meet the demand of what we’re doing.

Jon Powers:

And this tariff issue, which we’ll talk about here in a second, is going to really continue to drive challenges to our projects if we’re expected to be able to tap that manufacturing. So the US Department of Commerce opened an investigation into whether solar cells and module manufacturers are circumventing these tariffs and having panels shipped from places like Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia. And the potential of this tariff, which we’ll talk more about can really go retroactively back to 2021, so affect projects in the last year. What we’re really allowing to happen is a $10 million, 150-megawatt capacity company like Auxin is really petitioning to shut down our $10 billion industry.

Jon Powers:

My hope is today’s conversation with Abby will help us better understand the challenges, the challenges many of us face in investing or building projects, and will help drive all of us to some action to support the work that Abby and her team are doing. So folks that don’t know Abby, she’s the president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. You should all be members, and if you’re not, you need to sign up today to be members. I’m going to make your sales pitch for you, Abby, because the work she’s doing is critical.

Jon Powers:

Abby’s got a really tremendous and distinguished career, both in the public and private sector, before she took the helm at SEIA, and over the last several years, has really helped guide our industry as it has grown and wrestled with some of the incredible challenges that we have faced. So, Abby, thank you so much for joining us.

Abby Hopper:

Jon, it’s so good to be here. It’s not great to talk about tariffs again, but it’s really good to see your face, and I loved what you led with, all the ways in which our industry has been growing, year-over-year increases, all sectors of the market, all sizes of company. But obviously we have a pretty big, significant challenge ahead of us, and we’ll talk all about that.

Abby Hopper:

I want to thank you for the work you’ve done in the industry. You’re clearly a leader, both in terms of the work you do with companies, but also a leading voice on policy. And I think it’s so important for companies to really appreciate how policy impacts their bottom line. You and I don’t care about policy simply because we’re policy geeks. We care about it because it impacts the bottom line and the profitability of our companies. That’s why everyone listening and watching this should get involved, because it’s going to impact your revenue, and your end-of-year budget, and how many people you can employ. It’s really. Critically important. So thanks for providing this forum to chat about it.

Jon Powers:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think it’s really important for folks to know that their voices… You don’t have to be in Washington to lend your voice to this fight, and we’ll talk more about this later. But it’s actually more powerful when you’re talking about local jobs and what these tariffs are going to do to potential projects in the community of those lawmakers that we’re going to want to talk to and leaders we want to talk to.

Jon Powers:

So, Abby, just to step back and just really set the stage for folks that aren’t aware, just talk for a second about the Solar Energy Industries Association and your role in this fight.

Abby Hopper:

Sure. I always say we are your trade association. If you’re in the solar and the solar and storage industry, we are your voice in Washington, at the RTOs, in the state capitals and the state regulatory agencies. Whether or not you are a member of SEIA, and I would very much encourage you to be a member of SEIA, because you will get a lot of benefits from that, we are the ones going into the courtroom, going into the legislature, going into offices and saying, “Hey, this is what the industry needs to provide business certainty and allow capital to flow.” Simple as that.

Abby Hopper:

We do that in a variety of ways, and we can talk about all that, but for this particular fight, and we’ll talk about the contours of this case, we are really leading the fight with… And it feels like a fight. Really leading the fight to let the White House know, let the Congress know, and let the Department of Commerce know what’s really at risk. The number of jobs, the impact on capital, the projects deployed, the goal, the ability to meet the president’s climate goals, all of that is at risk. That’s literally what I’m doing on a daily basis is carrying that message for all of the companies.

Jon Powers:

Yeah, and for those of us that are, I think, working day in and day out trying to build projects on the ground… This audience is made up of mostly developers across the country. Can you just step back and… Most of us aren’t as close to Washington as you are, or follow policy like you and I do. Just walk through the little background here, and what has driven us to where we are today around this investigation.

Abby Hopper:

Yeah. No, it’s important to understand the context, as you said. And that’s the beauty of a trade association is you don’t have to follow it as closely as I do, and you don’t have to come to Washington. I live here. I actually grew up here. I’m one of those people that actually grew up here. But you’re welcome to come anytime, and you have a home here in our office.

Abby Hopper:

But what has happened is that, as Jon said, a small company based out of San Jose, California, that has a very limited ability to produce solar panels, filed a petition with the United States Department of Commerce, and in that petition, that company, Auxin Solar, alleged that the US trade laws were being circumvented. Sometimes it’s called the circumvention petition. That US trade laws were being circumvented, and that while there have long been, for about a decade, tariffs on cells and modules coming out of China directly, that companies have circumvented those tariffs by building manufacturing facilities in those four countries you named, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and that because they’re circumventing our trade laws, that there should be tariffs imposed on cells and modules coming from those four countries.

Abby Hopper:

I mean, we’ll talk a lot about the impact of that, but just to give you some context, the vast majority of solar PV cells and modules coming into the United States are coming from those four countries. So this is not a niche, trade log, geeky issue. This is an issue that affects literally every developer in the US, regardless of where you source your modules from, because, as supply decreases, prices increase. So even if you have the best supply from a country that’s not impacted, you will feel the effect. So that’s what’s happening.

Abby Hopper:

Then the US Department of Commerce on April 1st said, “You know what? We think there’s enough here to investigate,” and so that’s what’s happening. We’re in this period of investigation right now. There’s a time period by which they have to make a preliminary determination of whether or not the US trade laws have been circumvented or violated. They have 150 days to make that decision, and we are pushing them hard to make that much more quickly to give you some certainty.

Abby Hopper:

Then they have the rest of the year, literally, to make a final determination. What the denomination is, what the impact of that determination is, how far back they go retroactively to impose tariffs on things that are already here in the United States, we can talk about all of that, but you can see that this has far-ranging consequences.

Jon Powers:

Yeah, absolutely. I think we’re seeing it across the industry today. So to move from policy to politics for a second, this, as you mentioned, flies in the face of all the progressive agenda, we’re seeing moving climate and clean energy within the Biden administration right now. Is there any color you can add to the politics behind this, like what drove this, or is that something people are just trying to figure out?

Abby Hopper:

All of the above.

Jon Powers:

Yeah.

Abby Hopper:

I will happily share what I know and the kind of conversations that I’ve been having, but, I mean, you’re right. The day that this decision was made by the United States Department of Commerce, whose, obviously, secretary was chosen by President Biden and was charged, like all the secretaries, to reach the president’s goals and priorities, of which addressing the climate crisis is in the top four… That’s four issues, and climate was one of them.

Abby Hopper:

On the same day that that investigation was announced, the fiscal year ’23 budget was announced that had all of this incredible stuff for climate. We find ourselves in this very odd juxtaposition of administration that is absolutely saying all the right things, and in some ways, really delivering on promises, and yet has presented the biggest challenge that we’ve seen.

Abby Hopper:

Some of you have been here way longer than I have, and I will say the people on my staff that have been here for 10, 15 years have all, to a person, said this is the biggest risk, this is the biggest crisis they’ve witnessed. We’re famous for our solar coaster. I think some of us take pride that we can ride the solar coaster, but this feels like we’re about to crash. It’s not a fun and exciting ride anymore. It feels like we’re headed straight towards a brick wall.

Jon Powers:

That’s an interesting perspective. Some other time, I’ll talk to you more about the politics behind this. I feel like friends in the White House were shocked when this came out. A lot of folks were caught off guard by the fact that this was unveiled. For folks that don’t don’t know Washington, the president’s budget is a major policy driver, and there was a lot of thought and effort put behind it. And literally, it was undercut the same day by the investigation.

Jon Powers:

So I want to step back. You talked about some of the things you’re hearing. A lot of the folks on this call witnessed firsthand the impacts that this is having on their projects, their pipeline, not being able get access to panels, or trying to find out where they’re stored here in the US. What are you hearing from your members on the effects that this is having on their both short- and long-term projects?

Abby Hopper:

Yeah, so the first thing we did was just go out to both members and non-members, and say, “Hey, we’ve created this survey tool. Fill out the survey. Tell us what you’re seeing. Tell us whether your panel supply is impacted. Tell us whether your pipeline is impacted, your projects, your workforce.” Over 700 companies have responded, which, I’m not a statistician, I’m a lawyer, but that’s a pretty good sample size, I think-

Jon Powers:

Yeah, for sure.

Abby Hopper:

… for a survey. I mean, it was heartbreaking, Jon, because there’s places where you fill in numbers, but then there’s blocks for companies to really share a narrative around what’s happening, and it’s brutal out there. So I really feel for companies that are facing really, really horrible choices.

Abby Hopper:

But what the data tells us is that we are at risk of cutting our deployment in half, literally cutting our deployment in half over the next two years, putting the industry back almost a decade in terms of how many people we’re employing, how many projects we’re deploying. I amount feel like I’m exaggerating. It’s sort of hard to imagine that I’m sitting here… I literally can see the white house out my window, and I have a Democratic president, a Democratic Senate, and a Democratic House, and I’m telling you that we are at risk of our industry being cut in half. I feel like I’m in some other reality, not augmented but alternate reality. But unfortunately, I’m not.

Abby Hopper:

The vast majority of our companies have already seen their module supply either threatened, delayed, or just canceled. And what we are seeing is that… And we’re going to release more data later today and tomorrow morning, but what we’re seeing is that some companies that originally thought they were going to be okay are realizing they’re not, because, as we said, if there’s only 20% of the supply available while the price just went up, and your contract might not be quite as bulletproof as you thought it was.

Abby Hopper:

Companies are willing to pay liquidated damages if they can get a much higher price, because lots of companies tell us that they have basically built… They talk about almost building, like, vineyards, like all the racking is up, but there’s no panels. It almost looks like a winery, or they have half of the panels, and so they have half of the project built, but they don’t know when they’re going to get the other half of the panels, and so they obviously can’t energize or finish it.

Abby Hopper:

We have things that have been contracted for but not built yet and now they’re trying to figure out how do you price in their tariff risk, and do you go back to the customer and, say, “Hey, so it may be 250% more.” It may not be, but who’s going to take that risk? And you know. I mean, you’re a businessman. That’s not a risk that really anyone-

Jon Powers:

Yeah, we’re having those conversations right now. Yeah.

Abby Hopper:

Yeah.

Abby Hopper:

You’re in them. It is a really challenging situation. I think the thing that maybe surprised everybody was how quickly it happened. What’s today? April 26th, right? This decision was just made on April 1st. So we are three and a half weeks in, and we’re already seeing the impact of it so quickly, because the risk is just so high that it’s hard to contract around that risk.

Jon Powers:

How to contract, how to finance, how to model all these different changes. Just to point out for the folks that aren’t members of SEIA, you can go to SEIA, S-E-I-A, dot org, and sign up to be a member to get access to that survey. A lot of great information’s coming out regularly right now from the SEIA team on this.

Jon Powers:

One of the things I’d be interested… I’m going to go to one of the questions online. If you have questions, please enter them in the Q&A chat. Someone pointed to a specific comment from one of the CEOs in the industry, but really, I think what it points to is that the fact that this is actually now forcing companies to go directly to China to source these projects, versus the countries they’re talking about. Is there any recognition of that in the Department of Commerce, that this is sort of counterintuitive to all the policies that they’re trying to move forward of the administration?

Abby Hopper:

We have certainly been carrying that message to the White House, to the Department of Commerce, to the Department of Energy. Wood Mackenzie, I think you mentioned a study they did. One of the findings was exactly what your listener or your viewer pointed to, is that it will quickly become apparent that the best source of panels is from China, and we have the data to support that.

Abby Hopper:

My sense is the administration finds itself in a bit of a bind, not really sure what to do. I saw someone asked about legislation, and in my mind, there is a solution set here, but it does require legislation. These two things are absolutely intricately linked. You’re a Washington guy. You know the challenges we’re having on the other side of the house here.

Jon Powers:

Yeah. So, Abby, with that, before we get into the solutions for a second, what’s the actual decision? I mean, the investigation’s happening. There will be a decision point by Commerce in maybe January that says, “We’re going to install X tariff, because this is happening.” What is the actual decision being discussed?

Abby Hopper:

Yeah, here’s the timeline. The initial case was officially filed April… The decision to investigate, April 1. So 150 days from April 1… So late August, I think it’s August 30th, but I might be one or two days off. But by August 30th of this year, 2022, the Department of Commerce has to make a preliminary determination, and that preliminary determination will be either a positive or negative.

Abby Hopper:

Positive preliminary determination means, “Yeah, we think that there is a case here. We think there has been circumvention, but we need to do a little bit more investigating.” A negative determination means, “Nope, we don’t think there is, and we’re going to finish the investigation and make the final determination.” We asked our lawyers to look at the history of these cases, and the vast, vast majority of cases, what happens at the preliminary stage is what happens at the final stage. So that initial finding is really key.

Abby Hopper:

The 150 days is what the statute allows the Department of Commerce to take. As you could imagine, as I said, we have been pushing them to move much more quickly. We are really targeting 60 days as the time by which they should be acting. They don’t have to listen to us. Our job is to show them that every day that they leave this industry in crisis and in uncertainty, they’re harming jobs. People are getting laid off. There’s a human cost to this indecision.

Abby Hopper:

But that’s the timeline, the preliminary determination. There’s then another six or seven months after that for the final determination. If they take the whole time for preliminary, and then they take the whole time for final, it’s about a year. About a year. So we’ll be April of 2023 before we have a final determination.

Abby Hopper:

As we said, the range of tariffs is pretty broad, 50% to 250%. How they apply the tariffs, whether they’re countrywide tariffs, whether they are company-wide tariffs, company-specific tariffs, that’s all uncertain. Some companies don’t have tariffs already established through the existing case. I mean, you can tell it gets really technical really quickly. So I don’t mean to be confusing; I only mean to demonstrate the amount of uncertainty upon uncertainty that the industry’s facing.

Jon Powers:

Right. I want to get into what folks can do about it here in a second, but just so I’m clear, like positive, negative, right? If it’s a negative in August, that means they just close the case, or is it that negative in August means they’re going forward and it’s a negative impact?

Abby Hopper:

Yeah

Jon Powers:

It’s like trying to figure out your positive and negative COVID test. What does this mean?

Abby Hopper:

We want negative. We want a negative-

Jon Powers:

We want negative. Okay, good.

Abby Hopper:

… preliminary finding. Yeah, just like your COVID test. Negative, negative, negative. Negative: there’s nothing to see here. But it’s still preliminary, and so they kind of finalize the investigation. But as I said, there’s very few times when they change their opinion from negative at the preliminary, to positive at the final. So a negative preliminary determination is really a key finding.

Jon Powers:

And politically, what impact can… If you think about something that comes out of FERC, the White House really has no leverage on FERC because it’s an independent agency, but Commerce is part of the executive branch. What leverage, if any, does the administration have on setting these findings?

Abby Hopper:

I think they are viewing this… My sense, from having conversations, that they’re viewing it more like a FERC proceeding, and regard it as-

Jon Powers:

More independent, yeah.

Abby Hopper:

… sort of a quasi-judicial determination based on the facts.

Abby Hopper:

I mean, we feel very strongly that, substantively, we should win on this case as well. I mean, what Auxin has alleged is that the processing and the manufacturing process that’s happening in those four countries is insignificant and minimal. Those are the words in the statute. If you think about… So I don’t know how technical people get, but if you think about the process involved in manufacturing cells, it is neither insignificant nor minimal. There is data around how much of the value of the product is created in that manufacturing process, and it’s more than half of the value.

Abby Hopper:

Our trade lawyers are making those cases. On the merits of the petition, we think we will win. And that gives me some hope that this will be a short-lived nightmare, and not a extended nightmare. I think, substantively, we will win, but obviously we’re also making very clear to the administration and to the Department of Commerce the impact that even the investigation is having.

Jon Powers:

I’m going to get into what folks can do here in a second, but I just wanted to break out segments for a second. A lot of folks, the developers of the call specifically, and the ones that we have relationships with really work, not utility-scale and really not at resi. They work in that middle market, whether it be C&I, distributed generation.

Jon Powers:

Do you have a sense that one market’s going to be impacted differently, one segment will be impacted differently than others? And then, two, is SEIA getting any guidance to its members on what actions should they be taking to prepare, or trying to get ahead of this? It’s hard to get ahead of it now, at this point.

Abby Hopper:

Yeah, it’s hard to get ahead of it now, unfortunately. We think it’s going to impact all sectors of the market. I mean, as you said in your opening, we just don’t have the domestic capacity here. It’s not like we can just say, “Okay, everyone just go buy domestic. You’ll pay a little more, but it’ll be fine.” That’s not the reality on the ground. From the respondents, we have heard in the… I mean, all of the customer classes are being impacted by this. Unfortunately, most of the developers on here will be impacted.

Abby Hopper:

Advice, I mean, one of the things I have heard is that there is a concern that this may impact smaller businesses much more because they don’t have some of the financial resources and the depth of balance sheet to ride out this wave. As we said, every day matters. Every day of uncertainty matters. I can’t solve that for people, but if you haven’t gotten notice from your supplier yet that your panels are… Get your panels on your project as fast as possible.

Jon Powers:

Yeah. I mean, should they be driving directly to look at other countries? I mean, we’re having conversations with everyone, trying to find panels. Do you see any guidance there? I mean, people should be just going directly to China now, and just paying that? What, if any, guidance can you guys give there? And if none, that’s understandable.

Abby Hopper:

Yeah. I think that companies should figure out what makes the most sense for their business. There’s certainly other panel providers in other countries that aren’t named in this petition. What I think some people are finding, though, is that they may get cells from those. The modules may be coming from a different country, one that’s not named, but the cells are coming from one of those four.

Abby Hopper:

It is really incumbent on developers and buyers to really focus on the supply chain. I mean, if 2021 taught us nothing else, it is that understanding our supply chains is critical to our economic health. We can’t pretend that it just arrives on our doorstep and it doesn’t matter where it came from.

Jon Powers:

That’s true. To answer someone’s question in the Q&A, it is totally frozen. The supply is frozen, the panel supply chain, 100%. People just don’t know who to buy from or what to do right now, and it’s been wildly frustrating.

Jon Powers:

So let’s talk about what we can do to take action to help you all, whether it be… Folks have talked about relationships they have with members. Should we be pushing, if there’s going to be climate legislation, to have some solution? Well, first, maybe let me start off with that. It seems like there is a possibility of some climate-focused legislation that include things like the ITC extension. So that is definitely on the table right now. Could this be included in that?

Abby Hopper:

I agree with you that it’s definitely on the table. What we see… We talked about domestic manufacturing and how critically important that is, and there are provisions in the piece of legislation that passed out of the House that helped domestic manufacturing. So that’s critical.

Abby Hopper:

We’re also looking at regulatory ways to… We can’t solve this petition, this petition that we’re already on the tracks, but the next one. We cannot continue to go segment of the market by segment of the market to try to stop the growth of the solar industry.

Abby Hopper:

This is just my personal opinion. I reminded my team yesterday, the reason why it feels like we are under siege, and in fact, we are under siege, is because we’re winning. All the numbers you said at the beginning, people… Opponents do not put targets on losers, right? They put them on the folks that are threatening.

Jon Powers:

Right. Not going to spend their time… Right.

Abby Hopper:

Right, and so the solar industry is clearly threatening. And you can fill in the blanks about who we’re threatening. Even with this blip, this significant blip, every chart, every trajectory shows us growing and growing, and taking market share from established market participants.

Abby Hopper:

I am definitely focused on one company called Auxin, but I am more focused on, “How do we de-risk the whole issue of domestic manufacturing so that, as an industry, we don’t have to keep having the same battle over, and over, and over again?” But I think probably the most likely way to try to do that is through a regulatory fix, and we’re hard at work on that. I’m not looking right now at legislation to fix that. I am looking at legislation to really help incent a domestic manufacturing base.

Jon Powers:

Could the administration just eliminate the tariffs? Would that just stop this?

Abby Hopper:

If what, I’m sorry?

Jon Powers:

Can they eliminate just the tariffs that are in place in general, like the Trump tariffs, for instance? They can do that, and that would just end this?

Abby Hopper:

Yeah, that would be great. That would be ideal. Yeah.

Jon Powers:

Yeah. Just making sure that was an option.

Abby Hopper:

get rid of the 232. Get rid of the… I mean, the amount of information I know about trade law now, which I did not know when I got here.

Jon Powers:

We just want to solve climate change, Abby. We don’t want to talk trade law.

Abby Hopper:

that’s what I thought I was coming here to do.

Jon Powers:

Right. So you’ve got a lot of developers on the line that are developing projects in states that are paused. What could they be doing? Should they reach out to Commerce? Should they reach out to their members? Should they call the White House? What do you need them to do, and how can they do it?

Abby Hopper:

Yes. I will echo what you said, that the developers on the line are the best voices. You are the ones in the communities, employing people in your neighborhoods, spending money at vendors, like providing tax base to local communities, and so your voice is unique and incredibly important.

Abby Hopper:

We are spending time lobbying. I hope that’s not a dirty word. Telling your story-

Jon Powers:

It’s not a dirty word.

Abby Hopper:

No. I mean, that’s how it works. Telling your story to both members of Congress, and to the White House, and to the Department of Commerce. The best way to do that… And honestly, I would encourage you to become a SEIA member, but whether you’re a SEIA member or not, all of these resources are available to you. There are form sample letters, ways to engage with your members of Congress, ways to engage with the White House and Department of Commerce. It is all on our website, a whole sort of media toolkit and advocacy toolkit, because we need to hear all those voices.

Abby Hopper:

I’m here. As I said, I’m in Washington. I have 50 CEOs flying in tomorrow to head to the Hill, in person for the first time since I’ve been on the Hill, but I haven’t taken a group of CEOs to the Hill since March of 2020, to tell Congress how truly devastating this is. There will be other opportunities to do that, and I would encourage people to engage.

Abby Hopper:

This is sort of a side note. One of the things that’s happened during the COVID crisis was that electeds got really comfortable doing Zoom advocacy meetings. So you don’t have to necessarily fly to Washington. We’d love to see you, but you can be in Indiana, or you can be in Ohio, or you can be in Georgia, or you can be in Arizona, and we’ll get a call together, and you can lobby that way. Hear the invitation I’m extending, and don’t automatically count yourself out. We will find a way for you, and facilitate telling your story.

Abby Hopper:

I was talking to a member yesterday, and I was like, “Listen, Troy, it’s one thing to say, ‘We’re going to lose half of our jobs. Deployment could be cut by 40-fill-in-the-blank of big lots.'” Like, “Okay, okay, okay,” and then they go to their next meeting. But if you say, “Hey, I employ Colleen.” I’m looking at Colleen’s name on the screen. “I employ Colleen, and I had to lay her off last week. She joined the solar industry. She came from construction, and this was the path to the future for her and her family, and I had to lay her off. So Colleen doesn’t know what she’s going to do now.”

Abby Hopper:

Those vignettes, and you know, Jon, those vignettes hit. So, to the extent that companies on the phone and developers on the phone can think about their experiences and share those kind of personal stories, that makes all the difference.

Jon Powers:

So two things. One, we are going to email out to everyone on this call some links to those SEIA resources so you guys can figure out how to tap into your social media or push. The other thing I’m just going to challenge all of us to think about… It doesn’t really matter where you’re sitting. I’m sitting here in Buffalo. Abby’s in Washington. It’s really also where your projects are. We have projects in Maine that are being delayed. We have projects in Illinois or wherever. Think about where those projects are, and then SEIA can help you navigate to the right member that that will matter to, because they’re going to really care if so much economic development is not happening in their area because of this, and help tell those stories.

Abby Hopper:

Right.

Jon Powers:

Well, look, some great questions in the Q&A. We’ll try to follow up with these separately, and capture them, and share them with the team at SEIA in case there’s specific things. But in short, this is affecting all types of projects, not just solar. It’s also affecting solar plus storage. And for folks that do follow storage separately, granted, this isn’t affecting it, but the supply chains are significantly being affected right now in storage, and causing some challenges.

Jon Powers:

Just to elaborate for a second, Abby, as we step back and look at the rest of this year, there is real potential here for something like a climate bill that could include the ITC, maybe solutions to this. What is leading into, used to be called Solar Power International, now it’s called RE+ in Anaheim, in September? What do you want from folks on this phone to make sure that we have a successful 2022 and beyond?

Abby Hopper:

Yeah. I think folks need to, just like you’re going to tell your story about the impact that the Auxin petition is having, also telling about the opportunity. We don’t always have to tell a story of desperation, but really of opportunity and of growth, and, “Hey, if the ITC extension gets passed, and I have a 10-year runway, I’m going to hire 20, 500, 1,000 more people. I’m going to hire them in Ohio, and in Nevada, and in Illinois.” I don’t know, I’m making stuff up. That’s a really powerful story as well, and I think legislators really need to hear that.

Abby Hopper:

But I do think… I just came back from Texas. We had RE+ Texas last week, and we haven’t been able to gather in person in so long. There is something really magical about being together, and we’re having crazy attendance, like great, crazy attendance at our events, I think because people are just hungry for that, to be with their colleagues. So come to RE+ Anaheim because there is something magic that happens when we all gather together.

Jon Powers:

Not just Disneyland.

Abby Hopper:

Exactly. anymore. I know. It’s so funny there.

Abby Hopper:

We invite a lot of legislators to that, a lot of policymakers, and we walk them around the show floor, because it helps them to understand that this is… Last year, we were a $33 billion industry. There’s 230,000 people employed in this industry. This is not a niche product. This is not some sort of science experiment. This is the future of our economy.

Abby Hopper:

So I would really encourage people to embrace that, and embrace that… I’m sort of over the fights between fossil versus renewable, and wind versus solar. I’m not talking about that anymore. I’m talking about the fact that we’re going to take the market share, and we’re going to win. So let me show you how we’re going to win. Take that message as well.

Jon Powers:

No, Abby, that’s great, and a lot of great questions on what folks can be doing. We’ll make sure we engage and answer those separately. As always, you can go to SEIA.org to learn more and connect with the team there, and you can get more episodes of Experts Only at CleanCapital.com.

Jon Powers:

Abby, thank you so much for being a part of this conversation and helping to drive folks to some action. God bless you with this challenge ahead, and let us know how we can help continue to get this resolved.

Abby Hopper:

Thank you, Jon, for bringing that to your viewers and your listeners. We appreciate your partnership, as always.

Jon Powers:

Absolutely. Thanks, everyone, for joining. Have a great day.

Abby Hopper:

Have a great day.