Tuesday, July 3, 2018|2 a.m.
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While cable news pundits continue to dispute the merits of open market vs. protectionism, we’re being misled about exactly what trade policy we need to continue to grow. This year, the Trump administration announced tariffs focused on Chinese solar batteries. Tariffs have repercussions for customers; for many, the increased expense of solar cells makes new installations excessively costly.
Tariffs can also produce the opportunity for local companies to buy new innovation that can decrease expenses in the long term. However, according to a report “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Financial Investment 2018,” the U.S. lags far behind China on investment in renewable resource innovation. In 2017, China invested $126.1 billion in the renewable sector, up 30 percent from its costs in 2016. This was more than triple what the United States invested, just $40.5 billion, down 6 percent from the previous year.
Tariffs are a temporary tool, weighing the short-term cost on customers against the worth of growing the domestic solar industry. But if we don’t devote to the investments had to make American solar competitive with Chinese cells, tariffs will only harm customers. Now is the time for a clear message to investors that renewable energy is the direction of the future.