Clean Energy Advocate: Trump is Manipulating Solar Market
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The cost of solar energy is expected to spike with the Trump administration's move to impose an immediate tariff of 30 percent on most imported solar modules.
Solar experts say the move puts a dark cloud over a booming industry.
"We are disappointed that he felt like he needed to manipulate an otherwise functional market but, that said, solar in the Southeast has been growing almost exponentially for the last five years and we're a resilient bunch," says Bryan Jacob, solar program director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
Trump made the decision to impose tariffs after the U.S. International Trade Commission reported American businesses said they were injured financially by the importation of large residential washing machines and solar cells.
Jacob says everything in the industry was working and moving in the right direction, to the point that Congress included subsidies for solar in its tax reform proposal.
"You've got that going on, which effectively signals that we want more of these things, not less,” he points out, “and then the administration comes in and puts its thumb on the scale a little bit to tip the balance against these technologies, solar in particular."
The International Trade Commission says the tariffs are meant to curb the import of cheap products from countries such as South Korea, Mexico and China, which "dominates the global supply chain."
However, the Solar Energy Industries Association says the decision will cost 23,000 American jobs this year.