SMA Solar sees U.S. duties making only small dent in market

Marcus Newton
January 28, 2018

Earlier this week, the Trump administration implemented a tariff on imported solar panels, which has understandably rattled the solar industry. Here's how First Solar can lock in its advantage for years to come.

SunPower has argued that its premium-priced panels, which are among the most efficient in the industry at transforming sunlight into electricity, should receive an exemption from the tariffs because their unique technology can not be compared with that of more conventional models, including those made by the companies that sought the tariffs, Suniva and SolarWorld.

There's already 7.5 GW of that supply already contracted as of First Solar's last disclosure, meaning there's 6.3 GW of solar panels available to sell in the USA tariff-free. The tariff, recommended by the bipartisan U.S. International Trade Commission, is created to help these companies compete for the domestic solar market. The president says the move is to protect American jobs, but critics say the opposite will happen.

"In this case, it really did not start with him", Gore reportedly said. "Sungevity's strategic aim will continue to remain steadfast on opening new solar markets in the coming year, ensuring existing markets remain accessible and contributing to job growth in one of the fastest growing industries in the United States". The other 36,000 workers built mounting systems, inverters, tracking systems, and other auxiliary hardware.

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SunPower Chief Executive Tom Werner says the company is going to put a $20 million US factory expansion and hundreds of new jobs on hold.

The tariff may not have as big an impact as the market thinks, either.

The US government argued that its domestic manufacturers could not compete with what it said were artificially lower-priced Asian solar panels. Overall, Hopper is concerned that this will drive businesses away from choosing solar as their power option. But with the tariff, he says only the upper class will benefit. There's a good chance it has a crippling effect, reducing our ability to modernize our electrical infrastructure and combat climate change.

"Our industry will emerge from this", says Hopper.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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