Trump signs solar panel tariff, angering U.S. installers
Jan 25, 2018, 01:31
MIDF Research said export growth to the U.S. could decelerate by between 3% and 5%, as the new tariffs on solar panels and washing machines will affect Malaysian manufacturers.
A member of the California Energy Commission, along with many in the solar industry and environmental movements, is warning that the Trump administration's planned tariffs on imported solar technology could cost jobs and raise prices for homeowners. The first shows which nations lead in manufacturing of the most popular kind of solar panel-those comprised of crystalline silicon produced in furnace-like ovens and sliced into wafer-thin cells by diamond saws.
On top of that, MIDF highlighted that inward flows from the USA fell for the first three consecutive quarters of 2017 in tandem with Trump's protectionist moves.
"Today, China dominates the global supply chain and, by its own admission, is looking to increase its capacity to account for 70 percent of total planned global capacity expansions announced in the first half of 2017", the office said. To fight back in case of a trade war, China may tax the auto exports from the U.S. to China.
Another solar industry group, Vote Solar, claimed that in the solar energy hotbed of Nevada up to 8,000 workers stand to be impacted.
The 30 percent tariff on solar panels is among the first unilateral trade restrictions imposed by the administration as part of a broader protectionist agenda to help USA manufacturers, but which has alarmed Asian trading partners that produce lower cost goods. First, the panels themselves represent just a fraction of the overall cost of a solar project.
The International Trade Commission claims that imports are hurting American manufacturing, but professionals in the industry disagree.
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"These cases were filed by American businesses and thoroughly litigated at the [ITC] over a period of several months", Lighthizer said, adding, "The President's action makes clear again that the Trump Administration will always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses in this regard".
China, the world's biggest solar panel producer, branded the move an "overreaction" that would harm the global trade environment for affected products. Other manufacturers from Asia voiced similar sentiments. The Solar Energy Industry Association said in a statement that the 30 percent tariff on solar components could result in the loss of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investments in the U.S.
"To think of solar as a manufacturing business in the U.S.is misguided", Kadish says".
In other words, the tariffs are definitely not welcome, and definitely damaging to the solar industry, but they don't amount to an existential threat. GTM Research estimated it may cut USA installations by 11 percent over the next five years.
"This is not a goodbye for renewable energy in the U.S.", Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Research firm CFRA said it expects the tariffs to increase solar system prices by about $0.10 per watt.
But the SE statement questioned the impact of Mexican imports on the competitiveness of USA industries.
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