Trump imposes 30 percent tariff on solar panels, washing machines

No major progress has been made on key issues through the first five rounds of the renegotiation of NAFTA

Germany is criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump's plan to impose tariffs on imports of washing machines and solar panels.

Trump campaigned on a promise to revive the ailing coal mining sector and boost US production of other fossil fuels as a way to create jobs and bolster American influence overseas.

Research firm Wood Mackenzie estimated that over the next five years the tariffs would reduce USA solar installation growth by 10 to 15 percent.

Some of the leading solar companies saw the tariff coming, Hochschild said, and stocked up on panels ahead of time.

The proclamation signed Tuesday would take effect February 7 and would allow 2.5 gigawatts worth of cells to be imported before a 30 percent tariff would kick in.

The announcement came in response to trade complaints from some solar panel manufacturers with operations in the US, who allege that cheap imports are driving them out of business.

However, the move has run into criticism from China and South Korea, whose manufacturers would be most heavily affected.

The Solar Energy Industry Association claimed that just 2,000 of the 38,000 solar manufacturing jobs in the U.S. 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. In real dollars, the 30% Solar Tariff will immediately add between 10.5 cents/watt and 11.4 cents/watt to module costs (assuming module prices otherwise stay at Q1 2017 levels).

Kadish says the vast majority of people working in the solar industry are installing the panels.

In 2016, 40 percent of the renewable energy generated in Arizona was solar, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

"Over the last five years, almost 30 American solar manufacturers collapsed; today the president is sending a message that American innovation and manufacturing will not be bullied out of existence without a fight", the company said, according to The Hill.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., has been one of the most vocal opponents of the tariff. "We have seen a 54 percent growth in solar industry jobs in New Mexico in the past year alone".

"New Mexico could once again become a power player in the nation's solar energy production, bringing job growth and more revenues that our state needs", he said in a statement.

He has also downplayed the threat from global warming - an issue that led past administrations to throw their support behind emissions-free solar and wind energy development - rolling back climate change regulations and pulling the United States from a global pact to combat it. "Any policies that arbitrarily raise the price of clean, domestic sources of energy like solar are a mistake, and I think the evidence is very strong that when you do that kind of thing, it results in a net reduction in total solar industry jobs".

The tariff will increase costs and delay some future work, she said, but how much is still unclear.

The federal government still offers a tax credit for solar installations until 2022. Developers import panels from places like China and install them around the country.

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