Here's How Trump's Tariffs Will Hurt Solar Growth

Gwen Vasquez
February 2, 2018

USA panel maker First Solar Inc. jumped 9 percent to $75.20 in after-hours trading in NY.

In 2013, China imposed hefty tariffs on USA -made polysilicon, retaliation against the tariffs President Obama levied on Chinese-made solar panels a year earlier.

He said despite Trump's economic ambitions to slow down globalization overseas, people who install solar panels and those who work in the solar power industry are going to be affected by the tariff, which leads to expected concern from those individuals.

"Developers may have to walk away from their projects", Hugh Bromley, a New York-based analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in an interview before Trump's decision. It could still happen, but Jinko's move and possible copycat moves by other foreign companies might change the equation.

The European Union threatened to retaliate if the USA restricts imports from the bloc. It's reportedly hoping to build that plant for about $410 million in Jacksonville, Florida, create 800 new American jobs, and thus avoid the new tariffs. Regardless of the potential for a modest increase to (currently very low) prices for solar power from these tariffs, investments in clean energy more than pay for themselves when considering the full suite of costs and benefits, such as cleaner air, more resilient grids, good jobs and significant returns for investors and the public.

The ITC determined that increased solar cell and module imports are a substantial cause of serious injury to the domestic industry. Utility companies facing green-energy mandates from state governments will also suffer as it gets more costly to deliver solar-produced electricity. -China talks could be a game changer. The planned USA facility will be JinkoSolar's first in the country, where the company now conducts business through a San Francisco-based subsidiary.

According to REC Silicon, the company invested $1.7 billion in 2010 in its Moses Lake plant, with the bulk of its production aimed at the Chinese market.

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Trump's approval of recommendations to provide relief to US manufacturers and impose safeguard tariffs on imported residential washing machines and solar cells and modules, were based on the investigations, findings, and recommendations of the bipartisan and (supposedly) independent US International Trade Commission (ITC). "Seeing our co-workers lose their jobs has been wrenching, but now the remaining jobs are at risk if this crippling dispute is not resolved soon", the workers wrote to Trump. The tariffs will hurt many more companies and people, and that's before other countries retaliate. China has not yet stated how it will respond, other than saying it will protect its legitimate interests.

So this isn't going the way the naysayers said it was going to, at least for now. "Every time the USA does anything to deal with a problem, we are called protectionist".

The announcement - made briefly at the end of a statement about a supply agreement with a US buyer - said that its board of directors had authorized the company to make final plans for "an advanced solar manufacturing facility in the U.S". Workers make solar equipment for "off-grid" applications like powering mobile highway signs and railroad signals.

AFTER a year in office US President Donald Trump finally took action against China on what he views as unfair trade practices, with a move to impose 30% tariffs on imported solar panels.

Trump's solar decision comes nearly nine months after Suniva Inc., a bankrupt US module manufacturer with a Chinese majority owner, sought import duties on solar cells and panels. The Solar Energy Industries Association has projected tens of thousands of job losses in a sector that employed 260,000.

"I am 100 percent for it because it will give more jobs to here in the United States instead of supporting people in Korea", he says. First, it has proof that it means what it says when it threatens to slap tariffs on certain goods.

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