The ITC Solar Tariff may change the direction of the U.S. solar industry. Despite the industry being a constant, evolving market, the last 5 years has brought us affordability, new technologies, and more powerful photovoltaic (pv) power. However, it’s how affordable solar has become that has made this industry one of the fastest growing industries in the country – which in part is due to oversees solar pv manufactures gaining market share by importing affordable solar products to the United States. Unfortunately, their low costs have impacted U.S solar pv manufactures such as Suniva and SolarWorld who both earlier this year filed what called a “Trade Remedy Proposal”. Basically, the imported solar pv cells and modules have damaged the U.S. manufactures with financial losses so great that they have recommended a tariff increase to remedy their financial troubles in the market. If the President agrees to implement this tariff, then the cost of solar will increase dramatically. According to ClearView Energy Partners and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the tariff would double the price of solar panels in the US by 98-162%.
How Is All This Even Possible?
Such a tariff allows temporary relief to those companies during a situation where surging imports can cause “serious injury” to the U.S. market. By law, any industry representative may petition the International Trade Commission ITC to investigate and remedy any injury to the company since they’re protected under Section 201 of the 1974 Trade Act.
What Will Be the Price Difference?
Suniva filed the petition asking for relief from imported cells. The chart below highlights a 4 year evolution of the tariff if accepted by the President:
What’s To Come?
The fundamental idea here is for U.S. solar manufactures to bring balance to the market in order to stay competitive against oversees solar manufactures that import their products at much lower cost. The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), a driving force behind solar energy through advocacy and education, believes the proposed tariffs may double the price of solar panels and potentially damage the entire solar industry negatively affecting job growth, environmental sustainability, and investments.
What You Can Do?
If you’re planning to consider going solar, now’s the time to do it. Come early next year, President Trump will make his decision whether to accept or deny Section 201 tariff petition brought by Sunvia and SolarWorld. Much of his policies lean toward American products and manufacturing which is great. However, if you have the opportunity to install solar now at 90-160% less of the cost, our suggestion is to speak to one of our consultants and learn more about your options.