The Kerfuffle on Solar Tariffs

The concept of setting a tariff on foreign solar infrastructure is making big news this month. But what does it mean for the solar industry?

 

Some are claiming that China and other Asian countries are flooding the U.S. market with cheap imports that are undercutting prices for U.S. manufacturers. However, a range of solar industry advocates are warning that new tariffs would raise costs and hurt the industry as a whole.

 

A September 10 piece in the Washington Examiner estimates that the solar industry creates 1 out of 50 of all new jobs in the American economy. That shows how important solar is to the energy market and the job market right now!

 

Officials are quoted talking about how tariffs could really harm productivity, mainly because solar companies would have to absorb those price hikes. Obviously, one of the biggest factors in the solar boom is that solar panels have become much cheaper in recent years.

 

The Examiner article also cites an estimate by Abigail Ross Hopper, President of the Solar Energy Industry Association, who says that the industry would lose an estimated 88,000 American jobs if tariffs are instituted.

 

At the same time, some American manufacturing companies such as Suniva are asking the American government to put tariffs in place. However, here’s the interesting thing about Suniva — the Examiner reports that this company is actually majority Chinese-owned. So in that case, it’s Chinese companies in the U.S. asking officials to put tariffs on products from Chinese companies outside the U.S. That’s kind of a depressing assessment of the situation we find ourselves in when it comes to manufacturing actual solar equipment — the good news, though, is that aside from potential tariffs, solar is hitting a critical mass point of affordability and feasibility right now. That makes now an excellent time to capitalize on the opportunity, and get solar projects in place before costs go up.

In the Charlottesville region and around the Central Virginia area, Sun Day Solar can help. We’ve helped many local clients to put all sorts of small business and residential solar systems in place.