Trump Administration applies tariffs to solar panels

Walt Farrell

Published January 26, 2018


Following the recommendations made by the U.S. International Trade Commission, the Trump Administration approved the first major trade action of 2018.  During Monday’s announcement, U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer disclosed the implementation of tariffs on imported solar- energy components.

While the immediate 30 percent tariff on solar goods won’t be completely diminished for four years, they are expected to decline by 15 percent. The first 2.5 gigawatts of imported solar modules will remain duty free.

Through this process, the International Trade Commission and the Trump Administration seek to level the playing field by increasing the costs of foreign parts. Although this strategy will increase competitiveness for domestic manufacturers, it will inadvertently impair those that rely on imported parts.

The Solar Energy Industry is a $28 billion industry that employs nearly 206,000 people, and relies mostly on foreign components, as imported goods make up nearly 80 percent of the industry’s supply. While Congress has no authority to amend or veto the Administration’s order, participating countries can appeal the decision at the World Trade Organization.

While the Georgia Chamber supports innovative efforts that advance fuel diversity and clean energy, we oppose solar tariffs that would inevitably increase the price of solar products. As Georgia is home to some of the largest solar-energy companies in the industry, the Chamber understands the importance of maintaining this competitive advantage. As the state’s largest business advocate, we will work to ensure that solar-energy is affordable for both providers and consumers. We encourage the International Trade Commission to consider the negative impact solar tariffs will have on industries in Georgia and nationwide.

In October of 2017 the Georgia Chamber sent a letter of opposition to the U.S. International Trade Commission. Click here to view the letter  in its entirety.