Tariffs' Fallout on CA Solar Industry Raises Fears

President Donald Trump's tariffs on solar-panel imports to the USA are a swipe at an industry that drew in $161 billion of investment globally a year ago and is dominated by companies in China. The tariffs will decrease by 5 percent each year through 2021.

Both SunPower and Sunrun said they disagreed with the decision to impose tariffs.

Under the tariff, announced by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, solar cells and modules will be charged an extra 30 per cent in the first year, then 25 per cent, 20 per cent, and 15 per cent in subsequent years, when imported into the States.

Will the tariff provide much benefit for US solar manufacturers, which is the key rationale for imposing them in the first place?

Moreover, the U.S.is only one market in a global solar industry that is growing robustly.

Analysis provided to ThinkProgress by GTM Research concludes, "new and emerging state markets are disproportionately affected [by the new tariff], with southern states like Texas, Florida, Georgia, and SC amongst the most impacted by the tariffs". It is now incumbent on the domestic manufacturer to show the world and OR that the reason solar manufacturing in this country struggles is because of a surge of cheap Chinese imports.

The US has approved controversial tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels in line with president Donald Trump's "America First" trade policy.

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In 2016, 40 percent of the renewable energy generated in Arizona was solar, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

"This is a political decision for the president and I think it's unfortunate because people on the left and right embrace solar energy", said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association.

"Over the last five years, almost 30 American solar manufacturers collapsed; today the president is sending a message that American innovation and manufacturing will not be bullied out of existence without a fight", the company said, according to The Hill. Overall, he expects the tariff ruling to increase the typical residential installation about 10 percent. "The penetration of solar in the USA will continue". "We have seen a 54 percent growth in solar industry jobs in New Mexico in the previous year alone". He has about 8 employees, and since 2007 has been serving most of the North State.

The new tariffs will directly impact the cost of most new solar projects across the country. Another spokesperson for the solar company said the price rise will result in a delay in United States projects.

No, but some projects will feel the impact more than others.

The tariff will increase costs and delay some future work, she said, but how much is still unclear. "It is a very big industry and we are going to have a lot of plants built here in the United States", he said after signing legislation. Germany's subsidies for solar started in the early 2000s, making it the biggest manufacturer and installer of panels for nearly a decade. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, has filed legislation this session, Senate Bill 79, to restore the credit for 10 percent of the total cost of materials and installation with a $9,000 cap.

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