Trump Adds Stiff Taxes to Solar Panels

Solar power is on the rise in the United States, so leave it to Donald Trump to try to kill that momentum. On Monday, the president added a 30 percent tariff to solar panels from outside of the country.

Sign the petition: Stop Trump’s War on Clean Energy – Reject Solar Tariffs

There’s no way this doesn’t cause problems for an industry that gets parts for 80 percent of its products from foreign companies. Even though job growth for the solar sector has been amazing, the Solar Energy Industries Association anticipates this obstacle will cost 23,000 jobs in 2018.

Ostensibly, this tax is designed to help American solar companies establish independence and not have to rely on foreign goods. Certainly, some American manufacturers that make parts found more cheaply abroad can expect an uptick in orders.

However, U.S. manufacturers are far from ready to start producing at a rate that’ll be plentiful or cheap enough to sustain the nation’s current demand for solar, and the Trump administration is aware of that fact. That’s why most energy experts view this tariff as a deliberate attempt to stifle clean energy growth rather than the pro-America policy it’s purported to be.

It’s reasonable to make this accusation considering that ever since Trump took office, the White House has unleashed a slew of attacks on renewable energy. EPA head Scott Pruitt has stated his intention to get rid of tax incentives for solar and wind energy. Trump himself pledged to make regulatory changes that would champion the coal industry over renewables.

Experts also believe that this new tax may backfire on the U.S. by hurting non-green energy sectors, too. Some countries affected by this tariff may decide to conduct a counterattack and put tariffs of their own on U.S. goods imported into their own country.

Asian nations, such as Malaysia, South Korea and China, may also choose to contest the tariffs with the World Trade Organization, which has the power to shoot down these taxes on certain grounds. Representatives from Seoul have already expressed that these tariffs are “excessive” and “regrettable.” It’s likely that the WTO will be the final arbiter on this matter.

The good news is that even if it sticks, the tariff won’t remain so high indefinitely. Over the course of four years, the 30 percent rate on foreign solar products will drop by 5 percent annually before settling on 15 percent.

Nevertheless, by putting up such a big hurdle at this particular juncture, Trump’s tariff will undoubtedly have an impact on the country’s current swell of enthusiasm for solar energy. Fewer customers will purchase panels once the price goes up and even some already planned projects are likely to get cancelled with such a steep jump in cost.

Trump will never be able to stop solar energy completely; the transition to clean alternatives is too critical for our environment for it not to happen inevitably. At best, the president can buy the fossil fuel and coal industries some extra years of dominance, which is precisely what this tariff aims to do.

Take Action

Join the Care2 community in calling on the Trump administration to reconsider this tariff. As the petition reads, “If the White House wanted to support domestic solar manufacturing, Trump should have supported increased U.S. subsidies instead of driving up the price consumers will need to pay for solar panels.”

Photo credit: Thinkstock

81 comments

Lindsay K
Lindsay K5 days ago

Oh dear, oh dear. How does he get away with it?? Terrible news. Many thanks for sharing.

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Danuta W
Danuta W8 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Peggy B
Peggy B13 days ago

TYFS

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Carole R
Carole R14 days ago

He should write a book and put all this stuff in it. The title? What I did to distroy the planet.

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Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga23 days ago

thx

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R1 months ago

Thank you for posting your opinions.

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David C
David C1 months ago

trump = loser!

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Danuta W
Danuta W2 months ago

Thank you for posting.

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Lorraine A
Lorraine Andersen2 months ago

well lets see, I think that by the time they oust Trump the US will no longer have and EPA department and the parks will be full of his cronies drilling for oil, women will no longer have rights, health care will have skyrocketed to the point where only the insanely wealth will be able to afford it etc etc In other words the US will effectively be back in the dark ages!!

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Lisa M
Lisa M2 months ago

Noted.

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