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Solar Company Reacts To New Tariff

A new tax on imported solar panels has sparked concerns throughout the solar industry. Just days ago, the White House announced a 30 percent year-one tariff on imported solar cells and modules. NewsWatch 12's Eliana Sheriff spoke to the largest solar installation company in the Valley-- which gets its products from Mexico-- to find out what the tariffs mean for them.

Posted: Jan. 26, 2018 11:04 PM
Updated: Jan. 26, 2018 11:05 PM

ASHLAND, Ore.-- A new tax on imported solar panels has sparked concerns throughout the solar industry.
Just days ago, the White House announced a 30 percent year-one tariff on imported solar cells and modules.

NewsWatch 12's Eliana Sheriff spoke to the largest solar installation company in the Valley to find out what the tariffs mean for them.

Trump has argued the tariff will protect the American solar industry-- and protect domestic manufacturers.

Chief Economist for Trump Gary Cohn says, "Right now we're not in a fair level playing field. We're in a playing field where many, many countries charge tariffs for U.S. products and we don't charge their product a tariff to come into the United States. So, we put our workers at a disadvantage."

However, the Solar Energy Industries Association says more than 260,000 Americans are employed in the sector, but less than 2,000 of those are manufacturing solar cells and modules.

That’s why they estimate this decision could cause the loss of roughly 23,000 American jobs this year, including many in manufacturing.

As far as the impact to the average customer, Hansen says the tariff may affect pricing somewhere between 4 and 10 cents a watt, which will mainly affect larger scale operations.

Hansen says, "In small commercial and residential it's not going to be a huge shakeup. In larger projects where 10 cents is a big deal it is going to matter. Like a utility size plant."

Hansen says solar is still booming and is only going up from here.

True South Solar President Eric Hansen says, "Even a tariff of 30 percent isn’t going to stop our industry."

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