Solect expects pain from new solar tariff

Pablo Tucker
January 25, 2018

A Charlottesville-based business is concerned about a new 30-percent tariff that will be imposed on solar panels imported from other countries.

Solar-makers in China, the world's biggest producer, have spent years dodging trade barriers by shifting production to Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, that weren't subject to the same levies.

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., who supported solar energy when he served in the state legislature, said solar will play an important role in energy independence in the U.S. But he wasn't ready to praise or condemn the tariff. The solar industry argues that Trump is trying to save 1,000 jobs for people employed by US -based manufacturers that are actually foreign-owned. According to the SEIA, there were 38,000 jobs in solar manufacturing alone in 2016, out of those ALL but 2,000 of those made something other than panels or cells.

Dr Yeung believes China would not retaliate unless the United States imposed broad-based tariffs.

The solar tariff could result in the loss of 23,000 jobs nationally, SEIA predicts.

Georgia ranks 9th in solar capacity nationwide and employs 3,000 people in the industry. "Our companies will not be taken advantage of anymore", Trump said. The facts are in though, and this is a disappointing development. He also directed his US Trade Representative to continue supporting industry discussions to resolve duties on these and similar products in the US and China.

Our growth over the past 24 months can be attributed to high demand for affordable, renewable energy, favorable financial markets, free trade and - importantly - our ability to deliver for the world's largest utilities. "Folks that are looking to buy solar and have it installed are going to have reservations".

They believe the tariff could mean more business from individuals who want to harness the sun in some way, but don't want to shell out the extra money for a traditional solar array. North Carolina residents can save up to $6,000, businesses can save up to $50,000 and nonprofits can save up to $75,000.

"Both of his immediate predecessors made similar tariff decisions early in their presidencies and came to regret them", the Financial Times reported. The trade tariff is expected to go into effect February 6.

The tariffs are expected to slow a shift to renewable energy in the United States, just as solar was becoming cost competitive with electricity generated from fossil fuels like coal, an industry that Trump has pledged to protect. This created a shortage. Shiao also pointed out that solar markets in the Midwest will feel the effects of the tariffs, but not as bad as the South, calling them an "opportunity cost", because markets outside of Minnesota, Illinois, and MI are still largely undeveloped.

That's what some solar-industry advocates had been shooting for in the run-up to Mr. Trump's decision. It is a step back, it is set to impact many hardworking Americans and is done under the construct of doing good for those very same hard working Americans.

"Thirty percent increase of panel costs isn't a 30 percent increase of total costs to the homeowner", says Arthur.

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