News: On January 22, President Trump imposed a 30% tariff on imported solar panels
Solar capacity installed in the US was influenced by low-priced Chinese-manufactured solar cells and modules, with US installations tripling between 2012 and 2016. The Chinese government has been employing state incentives, subsidies, and tariffs to artificially decrease prices, thus increasing their global market share (growth from 7% in 2005, to 61% in 2012, and 71% in 2017).
Selling solar products below market value (a drop of 60% over the last few years) has negatively impacted US manufacturers, in some cases causing companies to move manufacturing abroad or declare bankruptcy. The ITC (International Trade Commission) officially determined under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, that increased solar imports were a “substantial cause of serious injury to the domestic industry”. It has been speculated that the new tariff will cause an increase in cost of materials for solar projects, as well as negatively affect job growth in the industry.
We at Arch believe consumers deserve access to clean, renewable energy sources. We are remaining hopeful, rather than alarmist, regarding the future of the solar industry. While a 30% tariff on imported solar panels will hinder the US solar industry, it won’t stop growth. The industry is resilient and will maintain momentum regardless of potential price increases. This isn’t the first hurdle the industry has experienced, nor will it be the last.
Impact on Our Customers & Company
Our team anticipated this decision and planned strategically so it would have minimal impact on our customers and company. We made purchasing decisions in 2017 that will protect our customers from price increases in 2018. Our inventory will allow us to service our customers without any impact on pricing through the first half of the year. In the long run, we anticipate panel price stabilization rather than a continuous drop as has been the recent trend.