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Imported solar panel tarriffs signed

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http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/370171-trump-imposes-30-tariffs-on-solar-panel-imports

 

President Trump on Monday imposed tariffs of 30 percent on imported solar panel technology in a bid to protect domestic manufacturers while signaling a more aggressive approach toward China.

The move is a major blow for the $2 billion solar industry, which gets around 80 percent of its solar panel products from imports.

The Solar Energy Industries Association has predicted that tens of thousands of jobs would be at risk with tariffs. But the Suniva and SolarWorld USA, the bankrupt companies which requested the tariffs, say they would boost domestic manufacturing and add more than 100,000 jobs.

The tariffs apply to all imported solar photovoltaic cells and modules, the main technology on panels that convert solar energy into electricity.

While the action is targeted at imports from China, Trump’s tariffs apply to all imports, since Chinese manufacturers have moved operations to other countries.

 

“The president’s action makes clear again that the Trump administration will always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses in this regard,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement Monday announcing the decision along with a decision to impose tariffs on imported washers.

The move is the first major tariff decision Trump has made unilaterally in office. Through his presidential campaign and his first year in office, Trump repeatedly promised to aggressively go after China and other nations that he feels conduct unfair trade practices and hurt domestic industries.

Solar panels already are subject to significant tariffs when imported from China and Taiwan.

The tariff falls to 25 percent after a year, and then 20 percent and 15 percent each year after, before phasing out entirely. The first 2.5 gigawatts of imports each year are exempt.

Suniva and SolarWorld USA requested tariffs of 50 percent on imported panels last year, saying their operations were decimated by cheap imports. The International Trade Commission endorsed tariffs of up to 35 percent after it ruled that domestic manufacturers suffered "serious injury" from the imports, a finding required to impose tariffs under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974.

Most of the rest of the solar industry, including installers and companies that make related technology, oppose the tariffs, saying they would threaten tens of thousands of jobs.

The right-wing R Street Institute said Trump's decision was a disappointing loss for free trade.

“More good-paying jobs will be jeopardized by today’s decision than could possibly be saved by bailing out the bankrupt companies that petitioned for protection," said Clark Packard, trade policy counsel for the group. "Today's decision also will jeopardize the environment by making clean energy sources less affordable."

The dispute is likely to be settled eventually by the Switzerland-based World Trade Organization, where China and other countries are nearly certain to challenge the tariffs as a violation of international law.

 

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I have been debating getting an extra panel. I wonder how long until the price increases start.

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Here is the rub for such issues. Is it better to protect US jobs or to have lower prices? Looks like we can't have it both ways. :P 

The debate on this one is tough if you don't want to be political. 

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Even that is mixed  as the cheaper panels may lead to more jobs in installation and maint. plus saving on fossil fuels, cutting down on polution, spending less on buiding generating stations be they coal, gas, nuclear.  It doesn't all fit in one box.

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53 minutes ago, Kirk Wood said:

Is it better to protect US jobs or to have lower prices? 

Since US solar jobs are in installation, not manufacture, it's better to have lower prices.

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2 hours ago, Zulu said:

Since US solar jobs are in installation, not manufacture, it's better to have lower prices.

But there will likely be many more US jobs in solar manufacturing if the tariffs reduce unfair competition.

 

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8 minutes ago, oldbutspry said:

But there will likely be many more US jobs in solar manufacturing if the tariffs reduce unfair competition.

 

What is unfair competition.  I know of folks that were making $30+ an hour plus benefits to use an impact wrench to put lugnuts on Fords on a line, is it unfair competition if someone else will do it for $12?

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7 minutes ago, jpcoll01 said:

What is unfair competition.  I know of folks that were making $30+ an hour plus benefits to use an impact wrench to put lugnuts on Fords on a line, is it unfair competition if someone else will do it for $12?

The Chinese government subsidizes many of their companies so they are able to take over the industry.  That is unfair competition.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-china-is-dominating-the-solar-industry/

https://www.ft.com/content/18afe28e-a1d2-11e7-8d56-98a09be71849

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14 minutes ago, oldbutspry said:

But there will likely be many more US jobs in solar manufacturing if the tariffs reduce unfair competition.

 

Maybe but not necessarily.  Remember solar panels compete with fossil fuels and they need to meet a certain price point for the industry to flourish. If the prices go up  30% that may change the calculation for many weighing getting or expanding a solar system. With other industrialized countries moving toward renewables, I have concerns both environmentally and economically whether this might not be a little short-sighted but since I am now tiptoeing around the politics line, I will leave it at that.

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The interesting thing is that US panel manufacturers will still be importing the glass cells from China.  I guess that is an accommodation since the EPA rules makes it basically impossible to make the glass cells in the US.  That is why Solyndra failed.  It wasn't labor costs, it was a 100% automated plant, so the labor cost was nil but following EPA rules ran the cost too high.

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14 hours ago, oldbutspry said:

But there will likely be many more US jobs in solar manufacturing if the tariffs reduce unfair competition.

 

No, there won't. US solar panel production is TRIVIAL, compared to the demand. This doesn't accomplish ANYTHING good. Not a damned bit of good. Nothing but sub-human filth in DC.

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7 hours ago, Mark and Dale Bruss said:

The interesting thing is that US panel manufacturers will still be importing the glass cells from China.  I guess that is an accommodation since the EPA rules makes it basically impossible to make the glass cells in the US.  That is why Solyndra failed.  It wasn't labor costs, it was a 100% automated plant, so the labor cost was nil but following EPA rules ran the cost too high.

I live in the Bay Area. Solyndra was doomed because American manufacturing workers don't turn out quality products in any tech sector. No American tech company wants to use US workers, and in fact, 70 perecent of tech workers in the US are from other places, most notably India and, uh oh, you guessed it, CHINA!!!

When will the idiocy in the US end? The hypocrisy? Last year would have been not soon enough.

Edited by OldMan

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Mark's info about the glass cell was interesting since I did not know it.

oldman I think you may have misread what oldbutspry was saying. The way I read it was more or less  agreeing with you based on the unfair compitition.

It is hard not to be political on this topic but I consider that this could even be happening to get china's attention on trade or to nudge them about helping us deal with N. Korea more. Who knows the real reason behind this and I certainly hope it is a good one even if I am skeptical but at this point my main interest is in how it will affect the rest of US.  There is about a 400 acre solar farm going in near me now just in the early stages and I am wondering what this will do to thay.  At least 3 guys with the crew are staying in this park and the output is supposed to feed into the power grid. First chance I get I am going to ask one of the guys.  Of course if they start pulling out that could be a clue.

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Oldman---I encourage you to tone it down just a notch or two because I love your perspective and want to keep it around. 

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So far, FSLR isn't collapsing.  I think we should wait and see how this plays out... as much as I hate to say that given my lack of respect for this administration.

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I have a very small 200 watt system on my trailer that I have had since about the year 2000 and then on a larger solar site as a volunteer and that has convinced me I want at least a small system on my room in the nursing home. :):)

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8 hours ago, OldMan said:

I live in the Bay Area. Solyndra was doomed because American manufacturing workers don't turn out quality products in any tech sector. No American tech company wants to use US workers, and in fact, 70 perecent of tech workers in the US are from other places, most notably India and, uh oh, you guessed it, CHINA!!!

When will the idiocy in the US end? The hypocrisy? Last year would have been not soon enough.

Interesting that the workers in a totally automated plant are blamed for the product output.  Preference for non-US workers is highly tied to lower wages of the imported workers.

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2 minutes ago, Mark and Dale Bruss said:

Interesting that the workers in a totally automated plant are blamed for the product output.  Preference for non-US workers is highly tied to lower wages of the imported workers.

Indeed they are. Quite a long time ago, the evil Carly Fiorina said something to the effect of, US workers are going to have to get used to a global wage scale. To which I retort: Only with a global price scale.

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1 hour ago, bigjim said:

Mark's info about the glass cell was interesting since I did not know it.

oldman I think you may have misread what oldbutspry was saying. The way I read it was more or less  agreeing with you based on the unfair compitition.

It is hard not to be political on this topic but I consider that this could even be happening to get china's attention on trade or to nudge them about helping us deal with N. Korea more. Who knows the real reason behind this and I certainly hope it is a good one even if I am skeptical but at this point my main interest is in how it will affect the rest of US.  There is about a 400 acre solar farm going in near me now just in the early stages and I am wondering what this will do to thay.  At least 3 guys with the crew are staying in this park and the output is supposed to feed into the power grid. First chance I get I am going to ask one of the guys.  Of course if they start pulling out that could be a clue.

Please do let us know your findings.

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On 1/22/2018 at 3:25 PM, Daveh said:

I have been debating getting an extra panel. I wonder how long until the price increases start.

If they haven't, I'd jump on whatever you want, immediately. I can give you contacts for all major solar-system components.

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Here is a view from energy expert:      

1. Trump today imposed 30% tariffs on silicon solar panels imported into the US. This is dumb and avaricious, and will hurt the solar industry in the US. But, at most, it's a temporary speed-bump. Here's why.

    • ore

      2. Today, at utility scale (how most solar is deployed), solar modules make up around 1/3 of the total system cost. The rest is so-called "soft costs" - framing, land, labor, trackers, inverters, wiring, etc.. Raising the cost of modules by 30% raises total cost maybe 10%.

      ore
    • 3. A 10% cost increase puts the total cost of utility-scale silicon solar in the US... back to where it was in late 2015 or early 2016. At current pace of cost reduction, in another 1.5 years, costs will be back down to where they were last month.

      re
    • 4. This tariff only applies to *silicon* solar panels. It does not apply to the thin film panels that the #1 US solar developer, First Solar, uses. First Solar will see no rise in their prices. Expect them to gain market share. That's why their stock is up tonight.

      ore
    • 5. Utility scale solar is ~70% of US solar, so that's what I've talked about first. But at commercial/industrial and residential scales, this matters even less. At residential scale, panels are maybe 1/8th or 1/10th of total price. This tariff will raise prices by a few %.

      t 
    •  

      6. None of this is to voice even the tiniest bit of support for Trump's move on tariffs. It's stupid, job destroying, bad for the planet, etc.. We need to be moving faster, not slower. It will cause real damage to the solar industry for a couple years. But it won't stop solar.

       
    •  

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