The Suniva trade case is a dark cloud hovering over the solar industry

by Kasey Harwell, Owner, RayWell Solar

The buzz in the industry is the controversial trade case that Suniva and SolarWorld are filing with the ITC. The basic problem is that a surge of overseas panels have infiltrated the American solar boom and local factories cannot compete with the imported prices.

When viewing this issue from the above description, you have to agree to add a tariff to imported panels. I want American jobs and manufacturing to flourish. I used to sell Solar World modules with a “made in america” tag to the delight of homeowners everywhere.

The other side, which often appears at the bottom of new articles (like this article), is that Suniva has a Chinese owned majority and also manufactured panels outside of the USA. And SolarWorld is German owned. Those two filed for bankruptcy and filed this case with the ITC.

When you add the above fact to the picture, the only argument that can be made for a tariff on imported panels is jobs. Without those manufacturing plants, there are fewer American jobs. However, and this is the part that hits home, non-manufacturing solar jobs will be impacted negatively by an import tariff. As the price of panels are increased, installers’ margins shrink, the price of installations increases, fewer businesses and homeowners choose not to install solar and those associated with local solar companies will lose their jobs.

So which job loss is greater? Well according to the Solar Energy Industry of America, the outcome of the proposed imported tariff would eliminate more jobs than it creates for manufacturing. Read more here: www.seia.org/initiative-topics/international-trade. They say it will hurt the industry and have a net job loss.

It is not an easy decision for Donald Trump. Our expectation, however, is that a large increase in the price of solar panels will occur in the very near future. If you have been thinking about going solar, NOW IS THE TIME. You have the tax credits available, utilities have an open net metering policy and the prices are low! Take advantage of our current situation and help our planet with clean, renewable energy.