Tag Archives: tariff

New tariff will dim but not destroy the solar industry

Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018|2 a.m.

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In revealing import tariffs on photovoltaic panels of 30 percent, President Donald Trump appears, as typically, to be taking a hammer to fix a watch: If it does not break, it might start running again. In the case of the solar industry, he won’t break it, but he may trigger it to miss out on a beat or two.

Solar is among the great success stories. It is a fast-growing market, which is including more tasks– mostly in installation– than any other financial sector. It is, as they say, on a roll.

The big mission for solar is carbon-free electrical power on rooftops, at electric utilities and in the centers of business such as Google, Apple and Walmart, which wish to be green. Other usages consist of self-governing generators for remote areas.

The idea of utilizing the sun’s energy is not brand-new. In Botswana, for example, a couple of black pipes placed on a roofing have provided warm water most likely since the 1920s. I initially saw them there in the 1960s.

After the 1973 oil crisis, solar was taken a look at seriously in the United States as a power source. Different concepts were afoot. The preferred one was to develop “farms” of mirrors targeted at a main tower with a boiler. One such installation was at the Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque; a bigger presentation plant was integrated in Barstow, Calif.

. But it was science that made the distinction, much of it performed in the Energy Department’s national laboratories. The solar cell, pioneered at Bell Laboratories and utilized for space expedition, was the ticket. The direct conversion of sunshine into electrical energy opened the floodgates of possibility. Whoosh!

Early in the solar story, the innovation was considered as fanciful by the electrical industry, which favored coal and nuclear. But as prices have actually fallen, interest has risen and now solar and wind are hot tickets in the electrical energy stakes. Germany has actually more released solar than other nation, however release is aflame worldwide. When much better batteries or other storage gadgets begin the market, solar will get a second boost.

Like many innovations pioneered in the United States, solar battery and panel production has moved to Asia. China is playing a dominant production function with factories on the mainland and other nations, consisting of Taiwan and Vietnam.

Industry computes that the immediate effect of Trump’s tariffs will be to cut the rate of release and cost jobs. The Solar Power Industries Association calculates 23,000 jobs will go this year.

But solar will start to adjust, most likely with more Chinese factories being developed in the United States. This is how the Japanese cars and truck producers dealt with tariffs.

Interestingly, the 2 companies that filed complaints to the United States International Trade Commission, leading to the Trump tariff hike, are both foreign-owned. Atlanta-based Suniva is mostly Chinese-owned and Hillsboro, Ore.-based SolarWorld is German-owned.

More interesting is the Energy Department’s decision to use a reward of $3 million for development in domestic chip production. The government, in my experience, does finest when it is pulling a market to accomplish a goal and far less well when it is pushing it.

A reward is classic pulling. Air travel rewards provided by newspapers and boosters were early rewards for flight, first throughout the English Channel and later on the Atlantic.

The government saying, “We are going to the moon. You assist us arrive” works far better than offering aerospace contractors a lot of loan in the 1960s and saying, “Aim to get to the moon.”

With its solar actions of a tariff and a prize-incentive, the Trump administration is both pressing and pulling.

Llewellyn King is executive producer and host of “White House Chronicle” on PBS.

Tariff case progressing, regardless of solar market objections

Trade case opponents caution that a solar cell tariff would raise costs

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Organisation Wire/ AP SolarWorld Americas Inc. provided 14.2 megawatts DC of high-performance solar panels for a project near Fernley. A trade commission is expected to decide next week whether to proceed with a case that might cause tariffs on solar cells.

Friday, Sept. 15, 2017|2 a.m.

. A trade commission is expected to decide next week whether to continue with a case that could cause tariffs on solar batteries.

The tariffs would make solar panels more pricey and hurt the market, states Solar Energy Industries Association CEO Abigail Ross Hopper, who is leading the solar market in the event. The U.S. International Trade Commission will vote Sept. 22 on whether business Suniva and SolarWorld were injured by imports of solar batteries, which are put together to create photovoltaic panels.

If commissioners find in the two companies’ favor, Hopper says a remedy recommendation will be made prior to President Donald Trump makes the final decision. The requested tariffs on these imported cells would double the price of photovoltaic panels, halve the demand and cause 88,000 people to lose their tasks nationwide, Hopper said.

About 2,000 tasks in Nevada alone might be lost as a result of the tariffs, Hopper stated. The state’s solar market has been ramping up since the passage of legislation to bring back credits for power customers whose photovoltaic panels send out excess energy to the grid.

“The Nevada solar industry has actually had a tumultuous two years and lastly has some certainty. The future looks brilliant for solar here in this terrific state,” Hopper said. “This, without a doubt, creates great deals of uncertainty about the future of that market. All the hard work that the Legislature just did and the governor did and the commission did to produce a sustainable and clear course for domestic solar could be jeopardized if these tariffs are put in location.”

The case was heard Aug. 15, with both sides presenting testimony. Juergen Stein, CEO of SolarWorld Americas, said the company needs the commission’s aid to save U.S. solar manufacturing.

“At a time when need for our product is booming, there is exactly one presently active producer of both solar batteries and modules left in the United States– SolarWorld,” Stein affirmed in August. “We are one provider with a capacity of 2 to 3 percent of U.S. need, as well as we are operating well below capacity. We have actually needed to lay off numerous employees because mid last year, including 360 employees just last month.”

Global overcapacity makes the U.S. market the “first and last resort,” inning accordance with Stein. Paired with increased U.S. imports, these 2 aspects triggered American solar rates to buckle.

“Nations that had delivered almost no items to the United States in the past ended up being major suppliers practically overnight,” Stein said in his ready testament. “As an outcome, the domestic industry, in spite of modest boosts in production, did not gain from growing U.S. demand and saw its market share fall sharply.

The solar market utilized 260,000 people in 2015, with solar representing one from every 50 brand-new tasks, Hopper stated.

“We are worried that any tariff would be hazardous to the growth of the market,” stated Hopper, whose association represents more than 1,000 solar companies. “We believe it is incumbent upon us to prove why it’s a much better service to enable this market to continue to grow.”

The commission’s recommendation will go to Trump on Nov. 13. He would then have 2 months, up until early 2018, to make a choice.