How Much Damage are Trump’s Solar Tariffs Doing to the U.S. Industry?

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Despite the tariffs, U.S. solar added 2.5 gigawatts of capacity in the first quarter of 2018, up 13 percent from a year earlier, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Credit: John Moore/Getty Images The tariffs on imported solar panels imposed by the Trump administration six months ago have done little to dampen the booming solar market in the United States. Company executives and industry analysts say that the effects of the tariffs—increased prices for installations that could depress demand for solar projects and lead to thousands of job losses—have largely been cancelled out by other factors. Many developers had stockpiled cheap panels in anticipation of the import fees. China slowed the pace of domestic installations, creating a surplus of cheap panels that could spill into global markets. And U.S. consumers have a big incentive to install solar panels in the next 18 months, before U.S. tax incentives begin to phase out. So far, there’s not enough data to tell how much the import fees are altering project costs, although it is clear that there has not been a dramatic shift. "We’re really talking about small changes to a general trend," said Colin Smith, a solar analyst for Wood […]

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