LA's Booming Solar Installation Business May Suffer Under Trump Tariff

Adjust Comment Print

The Solar Energy Industry Association claimed that just 2,000 of the 38,000 solar manufacturing jobs in the USA are involved in building cells and panels, meaning many solar companies in the Land of the Free are dependent on imported cells and panels to do their jobs.

He added that the tariffs would cause companies to manufacture those items in the USA creating opportunities for "a lot of workers, a lot of jobs".

Trump has been eager to enact a tariff of any kind, Johnson said, and doing so against the solar industry became convenient.

So president Trump's decision to put a 30 percent tariff on solar panels imported from other countries could make it hard for people like Nguyen and Alonso to keep their jobs.

They install 2 different brands of panels, some are from the United States, and some are not.

Research firm CFRA analyst Angelo Zino said he expected any added manufacturing jobs would be "minimal" given the 18 months to two years it takes to build and ramp up a new production facility and the industry's shift towards automation.

The U.S. solar industry employs more than 260,000 workers - about five times more than the coal industry - with the vast majority involved in installation rather than panel manufacturing. But, because prices have fallen so dramatically in recent years, the increase only sets the industry back to about 2016-2017 price levels, which was a time when the solar industry was still doing very well. It was later joined in the petition by SolarWorld.

On top of that, US taxpayers are actually going to end up paying for half of any tariff. The Solar Energy Industry Association said in a statement that the 30 percent tariff on solar components could result in the loss of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investments in the U.S.

"A tariff lasting only four years and ratcheting down quickly is unlikely to attract any manufacturing investment that was not going to occur anyways".

First Solar, a United States manufacturer, traded as high at $74.32 (vs a close of $68.96) but is now trading down at $68.47, down $0.49 on the day. "There will only be stock increases for the companies that are in this country".

"It is very unlikely that either the USA or China would want trade frictions to escalate into a trade war, which would be damaging for both nations as well as harming their overall bilateral relationship", he said.

In announcing the measures Monday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the International Trade Commission had found that U.S. producers were "seriously injured" by the imports.

"China will work with other WTO members to resolutely defend its legitimate interests in response to the erroneous US decision".

This comment on Wednesday from Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying came a day after the Ministry of Commerce expressed "dissatisfaction" at the new tariffs that to some observers looked like the first shots of a trade war.

Instead, the U.S. would use a range of trade policy "sticks" to address the widening trade deficit with China such as anti-dumping actions and investigations into unfair trade practices and violations of intellectual property rights.