To tariff or not to tariff, well that is the question the solar industry is awaiting the Administration’s decision on later this week. Last October the US International Trade Commission – 2 republicans and 2 democrats – unanimously ruled that imported panels are hurting the few remaining American manufacturers and recommended a 35% tariff. By Friday Trump is expected to decide. I hope he does not impose a tariff as in my book tariffs are inflationary and anti-competitive. In theory, so the story goes, the tariff will make imports more expensive and thus enable domestic producers to compete. Maybe so. Probably not. Solar manufacturing is a global enterprise and the US gave up its leadership in panel manufacturing long long ago, like about 2010. But what is not theoretical, is that a tariff will absolutely make panels more expensive for consumers and impact installers. This is certain. So Trump has to decide to impose a tariff for theoretical benefits for an obsolete US micro-industry or the absolute inflationary hardship imposed by this tariff (any tariff really) on consumers and installers. We shall see.