Monday, September 25, 2017

This is Trump’s chance to tank the solar industry


Rebecca Leber reports for Grist:

If President Trump were honest about which industries are the biggest job-creation powerhouses, it wouldn’t be the sluggish coal industry. It’s solar. More than twice the size of the wind industry and roughly five times bigger than the coal industry, solar accounted for one in every 50 jobs created in 2016, according to an annual census by the Solar Foundation.

But Trump will soon have the chance to cut off U.S. solar from the cheap foreign panels that have led to the industry’s booming success the past few years.

The U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday decided 4-0 that foreign imports of solar panels and cells have damaged the business of two domestic solar manufactures, Suniva and SolarWorld.

Now that the ITC has found injury, it will likely suggest a price floor or tariffs. The decision on whether to regulate these imports will ultimately fall to Trump, and evidence suggests he’s likely to do it.

“I would place the odds of the president agreeing to some type of remedy at 90 percent,” an anonymous Trump administration official told the news site Axios. Suniva has already proposed a price floor of 78 cents per watt and a tariff that would more than double the current panel costs.

Solar Energy Industries Association President Abigail Ross Hopper’s statement Friday warned that such a proposal could hobble the industry.



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