YSU Professors React to Trump's Solar Panel Tariff

01_30_18_solarpanels2

YSU Professors React to Trump's Solar Panel Tariff

However, Suniva and SolarWorld Americas both of which are USA solar panel manufacturers, demanded that the Trump administration impose tariffs on import solar panels, saying that the situation should be changed and carried through it.

Shanghai-based JinkoSolar, the world's second-largest solar panel manufacturer, announced it will open its first US factory, days after President Donald Trump said he would raise tariffs on solar panel imports. He said the increase in price is nominal because of the great savings return solar provides in the long run. USA -based solar companies have been under pressure from cheaper Chinese imports for years.

However, due to conflicting interests, finding the truth about such a tariff's impact is complicated.

Plus, numerous issues that plague renewable energy generation in this country - an uncertain policy environment, meager federal investment and business support relative to our global counterparts - have yet to be resolved.

There are plenty of convenient explanations regarding why such a tariff could help the United States economy and revitalize the solar industry-or how it might have six years ago.

The U.S. will impose duties of as much as 30 percent on solar equipment made overseas, a move that threatens to handicap a $28 billion industry that relies on parts made overseas for 80 percent of its supply.

The tariff announcement came just before President Trump flew to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Yet, that argument neglects context.

First, this kind of phenomenon is taking place in the solar panel industry. The association also stated that billions of dollars marked for investment in solar power would be lost. Because of this ballooning market, the domestic market is changing, too.

Based on precedent from previous Section 201 trade cases, US trading partners are expected to mount a challenge to the new tariffs at the World Trade Organization in the coming months. That means the only companies that can really boost solar jobs in the US are foreign-owned.

Additionally, one needs to look no further than President Trump's pick to lead the EPA in Scott Pruitt, to assess his underlying motivations in imposing such legislation as a solar panel tariff.

Solar panels at Yingli Solar in Baoding, China; the country is a major exporter of solar panels.

A briefing document from the White House said that from 2012 to 2016, the volume of solar generation capacity installed annually in the United States more than tripled, spurred on by artificially low-cost solar cells and modules from China. Furthermore, the fastest-growing job in the solar sector is in project development, followed by installation and sales.

So why are we getting this tariff now? He's talking about American jobs to be sure, but he's also made it clear he doesn't care if those jobs are created by foreign companies. Suniva asked for the tariff, arguing it was "necessary to save American manufacturing".

San Jose-based manufacturer SunPower announced last week that it was suspending $20 million in investments, which would have created hundreds of jobs at its facilities in California and Texas.

On May 17 2017, based on a petition from USA company Suniva and later joined by SolarWorld, the ITC instituted an investigation under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 to determine whether increased imports were a substantial cause of serious injury to the domestic industry.

The utilitarian observation here would be that the tariff is harmful, since deliberately raising the average cost of panels overall will hurt the largest, fastest-growing part of the market while benefiting a slow-growing fifth.

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