Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Dr. Willie Soon – solar installers are blaming President Trump for a slump in their industry. But President Trump’s solar tariffs have far greater implications for US manufacturing than a few disgruntled installers.
Billions in U.S. solar projects shelved after Trump panel tariff
JUNE 7, 2018 / 3:08 PM
(Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s tariff on imported solar panels has led U.S. renewable energy companies to cancel or freeze investments of more than $2.5 billion in large installation projects, along with thousands of jobs, the developers told Reuters.
That’s more than double the about $1 billion in new spending plans announced by firms building or expanding U.S. solar panel factories to take advantage of the tax on imports.
The U.S. solar industry employs more than 250,000 people – about three times more than the coal industry – with about 40 percent of those people in installation and 20 percent in manufacturing, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
“Solar was really on the cusp of being able to completely take off,” said Zoe Hanes, chief executive of Charlotte, North Carolina solar developer Pine Gate Renewables.
South Bend, Indiana-based developer Inovateus Solar LLC, for example, had decided three years ago to focus on emerging Midwest solar markets such as Indiana and Michigan. But the tariff sparked a shift to Massachusetts, where state renewable energy incentives make it more profitable, chairman T.J. Kanczuzewski said.
President Trump’s solar tariffs may have broken state efforts to circumvent Federal climate and energy policies. The solar tariffs ensure that states have to live with the consequences of their mistreatment of domestic manufacturers.
Thanks to President Trump’s import tariffs, a substantial percentage of those generous solar incentives provided by Massachusetts and other climate advocate states are now flowing straight into Federal revenues, in the form of tariff payments. States with generous solar incentives are now helping to fund the Trump administration.
Their only escape from handing over large sums of money to the Federal government is to either cut their solar incentives, or to help domestic solar manufacturers to cut costs – to slash the green tape which makes US manufacturing uncompetitive with China, and to ensure US manufacturers have access to cheap electricity.