The President handed down a sweeping 30% tariff on solar cell imports early this year that will no doubt have rippling effects across the US solar industry. Some will applaud the move as standing up to the Chinese government panel dumping while others will see it as a chance to throw the entire solar panel industry under the bus as if the past few years of sustained growth were falsely earned by unfair and foreign pricing manipulation.
The truth is that it’s a sad day for America no matter how you spin it, unless maybe you are really into government meddling and fossil fuels. To combat Chinese Pricing influence with Trump Tariff influence hardly seems like a sustainable strategic move or one that respects the dignity of the solar industry, or consumer’s free will.
Hot Purple Energy as a company has been successful by staying away from Chinese Panels and the race to bottom solar pricing. We have however watched margins being eroded by consumers demands, whether real or fostered, for the lowest price solar installation possible. Maybe China read the US marker better than the US manufacturers did. Maybe national solar companies caved to the consumers low price demands and allowed Chinese panels to dominate. Maybe the national solar companies relied too heavily on satisfying the investors’ need for fast growth and market share over quality and American-made. Maybe we, as a nation have it all wrong on what is important when selling a product or making a purchase. But one thing is for sure, this tariff was not designed to fix any of that, but rather it appears to be a government overstep and a reaction to a government overstep and reaction.
Tariff on Solar a Sad Day for American Business
The National impact of this tariff on solar will bear out in time but most predict it will cost hard-working American’s jobs at the least… We are grateful to our clients here in the Coachella Valley who listened to us and chose long term quality over a slightly shorter ROI. While we see President Trumps 30% Tariff on Solar Cells as a sad day for American business in general, we do not see our clients who prefer the higher quality systems being impacted much in the way of price or choice. US Panel companies like SunPower are here to stay and hold the line on a fair price for an excellent product.
That said, with much of the industry having removed quality to match the low-price volume frenzy, this will have real price impact and offering fall out. The question is, after President Trump’s 30% Solar Tariff is absorbed and US panel manufacturers ramp up to meet the inevitable switch to renewable energy, will American’s nationally accept higher prices for “American-made” as they have not been willing without the President saying they have to?
It’s our opinion they should without the government intervention. Solar will still be cheaper than fossil fuels and better for the planet. If American-made adds a year onto ROI or a few dollars to a monthly payment is it worth it? We have encouraged our clients to know where their products are made and by whom. But now government is forcing the issue and while it’s wrapped in red, white, and blue it does limit choice and the free market which is ironic and sad. #demandbettersolar