TARIFFS SET BACK SOLAR

We've been keeping a watchful eye on the long-awaiting changes to solar imports for over a year now, and the first changes are in. Late on Monday, January 22, the government of President Trump inveiled a number of trade regulations, most of which focused on import tariffs from China. 

Buried in those documents, the administration announced a 30% addition tariff on solar panels and cells, crucial parts for construction and installation of solar arrays in the United States. The ruling was allowed based on the argument that the Chinese government's massive subsidies have made it impossible for US firms to compete. These tariffs will decrease by approximately 5% per year, during which time the administration claims domestic manufacturers could be up to speed in the industry. 

The move is expected to make solar far less competitve against non-renewable energy sources, with the only benefactors being local firms with the capital to take advantage of the move in the immediate future. Companies that assemble and install arrays and who relied on foreign imports to being competitive, will face an uphill battle as a direct result of the ruling. The Solar Energy Industries Association claims the Trump decision could cost as many as 23,000 jobs and cancel out billions of potential investment. 

As pointed out in their report, the ruling will add roughly 15 to 30 cents per Watt  to operate current solar panel designs. There is no reliable timetable to see when US production will be able to meet demand and offset the additional costs. 

Solar is a $28 billion industry in the United States, with an estimated 80% of parts and materials used coming from foreign manufactures in China or, for tax and import reasons, through Taiwan. 

We're hoping to see investment stay the course in spite of these changes, for the good of the industry, the country, and the planet. Keen will be working to source the most competitive options for our customers and helping this technology to continue to move forward. 

For more on this issue, consider further reading from Vox and  and TIME

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