New solar panel tariffs will be felt by Arizona companies, consumers

Credit Melissa Sevigny

For reference, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory ("NREL") benchmarks solar modules at 35 cents/watt during Q1 2017 (GTM Research reports 38 cents/watt for the same period), so the requested tariff level would have been over 90% of the cost of the products.

SolarWorld, which pushed for tariffs along with Suniva, is a USA -based subsidiary of a German company.

The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates the tariffs will eliminate some 23,000 jobs this year.

China has become by far the biggest market for solar panels, dwarfing all other markets combined.

"There are a lot of ways to further support the growth of USA renewable energy manufacturing; this job-killing tariff is not one of them", said Vote Solar executive director Adam Browning.

According to commentators, the actions are being seen as the most significant trade moves by the president since his decision to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal (TPP) and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). According to Global Times CCEER director Lin Boqiang, on the other hand, said the tariffs are not likely to have a great impact on the Chinese industry as the biggest driver for the same is domestic demand and not the United States market.

"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. Judging by the reactions of affected companies, the Trump administration's ultimate decision was somewhat of a relief.

China and South Korea have reacted angrily to the news. With solar installations expected to top 100 GW across the world this year, costs should continue to fall, offsetting some of the cost increases related to the US tariffs. The Georgia-based company argued it could not compete with the cheap imports that have caused panel prices to fall more than 30 percent since 2016. "The penetration of solar in the US will continue".

Kadish says the vast majority of people working in the solar industry are installing the panels. The policy is aimed at protecting local manufacturers against foreign competition.

The chairman of Whirlpool Corporation, Jeff Fettig, subsequently said that the new tariff on washing machines would create new manufacturing jobs in the USA states of Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee. The solar industry provides more than 2,000 jobs in Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties alone. He has about 8 employees, and since 2007 has been serving most of the North State. "Any policies that arbitrarily raise the price of clean, domestic sources of energy like solar are a mistake, and I think the evidence is very strong that when you do that kind of thing, it results in a net reduction in total solar industry jobs".

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

"If your costs go up, that means we build less solar", Randall said, but "it won't deter us from building as much solar as we can".

"There just aren't enough solar panels produced in the United States to supply our need".

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