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Solar Tariff Proposal Big Threat to Installers

Solar installation advocates claim higher tariffs could cost 88,000 jobs. (MT Aero)
Solar installation advocates claim higher tariffs could cost 88,000 jobs. (MT Aero)
September 28, 2017

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Advocates for Nevada's solar installation industry are worried that the Trump administration will jack up tariffs on imported solar panels – after the International Trade Commission ruled that cheap foreign solar panels are hurting domestic manufacturers.

A study by GTM Research found that the tariffs could double the price of a module and cut the demand for rooftop and commercial solar by 50 percent.

Louise Helton, co-owner of 1 Sun Solar Electric in Las Vegas, says she hopes the president will listen to all sides of this issue.

"This is a misguided attempt to save jobs, because it will actually end up costing jobs,” she states. “If he takes a knee jerk reaction to this finding, he will not see the huge harm that he will do."

Helton notes that solar panel manufacturing is mostly done by robots and supports fewer jobs than solar installation.

Gov. Brian Sandoval sent the International Trade Commission a letter last week opposing a tariff, citing an estimate by the Solar Energy Industries Association that it could cost 88,000 and jobs nationwide.

Solar manufacturers say the tariffs would allow them to reopen shuttered factories and rehire workers.

Helton says she worries that President Donald Trump's staunch support of the oil and gas industry might lessen his concern for solar.

"I am very concerned about his preference in decisions that support the fossil fuel industry over renewables,” she states. “That's reinforced by his determination to remove us from the climate accords. When you have those two decisions, it doesn't look good for us."

The commission has until November to make a recommendation to the president on how to remedy the situation.


Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV