installing solar panels

How Much Is Trade War Hurting U.S. Solar Industry?

  July 18, 2018

By Greg Zimmerman

President Trump’s 30 percent tariffs on solar panels is expected to have a profound negative impact the U.S. solar industry, according to The Washington Post. While the tariffs might help U.S.-based solar manufacturers, manufacturing only represents about 37,000 jobs — or about 15 percent of the total solar jobs — in the United States. That’s because only a small number of solar manufacturers are based in the United States. In 2017, 90 percent of solar modules installed in this country are imported.

On the other hand, installation of solar modules represents nearly four times as many jobs about 130,000 — as manufacturing. These development and installation companies are saying the tariffs are hiking prices, killing projects, and causing them to lose jobs. The Solar Energy Industries Association has said the tariffs already have cost 8,000 construction jobs on solar projects in the country, and that total could rise to 23,000. One company has left as many as 1,000 installer jobs unfilled because of the tariffs, the newspaper reports. Another company says it has had to cancel about a “gigawatt-and-a-half of projects.”

While the cost of power produced by solar in the United States is down about 20 percent since 2015, experts expect that decline in price to halt and possibly reverse as a result of the tariffs.

This Quick Read was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, Building Operating Management. Read his recent story about the new LEED v4.1 rating system.


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