Solar Tariff

Solar Array, Hudson ValleyTo 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.