Solar energy is a big player in the renewable energy market. It has been growing for years now and has become a solid $28 billion industry. However, that growth may be cut short by a move by the Trump administration. Donald Trump’s first year in office has been marred by successive decisions that are bad for the environment. This includes appointments like Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency and Rick Perry at the Department of Energy (DoE). The most noticeable anti-environment move was when the US announced plans to back out of the Paris agreement that restricted greenhouse gases. The latest attack against the environment from this administration is when they announced a 30% tax on solar energy imports to the United States.
That is a devastating move for the solar energy. The solar energy industry in the United States is highly dependent on Asian imports. This is mostly because the Asian region is one of the world’s leaders in solar development. The region produces some of the cheapest solar components out there. Right now, 80% of the solar infrastructure in the United States is dependent on the components that are imported from abroad.
This is a big problem for many solar companies in the US. Though they are primarily installation companies, a lot of them depend on cheap solar panels. One of the drivers of the growth in solar is the drop in prices that has been happening in the recent years. The addition of these taxes can potentially raise the costs of solar implementation. A lot of experts already expect a 10% jump in prices for solar installation projects. This will greatly slow down the adoption of solar energy combined with phase down of federal credits for solar.
This move is as expected from Trump. The president has been very critical of policies that can threaten jobs in the oil, gas and coal industries. Combined with his constant doubts on climate change, this is a major sign of the administration’s lack of commitment towards a pro-environment agenda.