Solar Tariffs Hit Hard, but the Solar Industry Will Still See Significant Growth in 2018
This past week, President Trump enacted 30% tariffs on imported solar panels, a move designed to help two failing, and ironically, foreign-owned manufacturing companies. Unfortunately the decision will negatively impact American solar jobs across the country. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) calculates 23,000 job losses this year alone.
Far from a disaster, there is still plenty of good news for the existing 260,000 solar workers. Even with the damaging industry impact resulting from the tariffs, the solar industry as a whole is still expecting significant growth this year.
Utility-scale projects will be hardest hit, accounting for 65 percent of the anticipated decline in new solar module installs. Residential installs however, will not be impacted near as much. About 2 to 3 gigawatts of modules not impacted by the new tariffs are already in the pipeline, dedicated for rooftop projects already in the works and for expected customer sales in the near term.
“Smart solar companies have pre-bought inventory to keep the impact of the tariffs to a minimum, however once those panels have been sold, the new ones replacing them will be subject to the impact of the tariffs,” says Jake DiRe VP of Sales at EcoMark Solar. “Couple the pre-tariff pricing we can offer now, with a springtime installation to build up the net meter credit, and right now is the perfect time to buy solar!”
This isn’t the first time a tariff was imposed on solar panels, and may not be the last. These new tariffs just present another change in the landscape of the solar industry that will have to be adapted to. Green Tech Media (GTM)’s research shows that southern states like Texas, Florida, and South Carolina will be most affected by the tariffs, while Colorado and other more northern states will be minimally impacted.
Even with the new tariffs the solar industry expects to install more than 10 gigawatts of rooftop solar power in 2018, and almost 12 gigawatts in 2019. Continuous and significant growth is expected through 2022.
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