Last week, the federal government slapped a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels, based on the finding that the Chinese are manipulating the market to promote their own solar industry, with the effect of reducing solar panel production within the United States. Most of the U.S. solar industry, the purported beneficiary or the tariff, was opposed, because with the cost of the panels falling so low they only account for one-third of total solar costs, the production of ancillary equipment and solar system installation is booming here.
“The Solar Energy Industries Association has projected tens of thousands of job losses in a sector that employed 260,000. The tariffs are just the latest action Trump has taken that undermine the economics of renewable energy.”
“It boggles my mind that this president — any president, really — would voluntarily choose to damage one of the fastest-growing segments of our economy,” said Tony Clifford, chief development officer for Standard Solar in Rockville, Maryland. “This decision is misguided and denies the reality that bankrupt foreign companies will be the beneficiaries of an American taxpayer bailout.”
This tariff, which also included imported washing machines, was the first by “tough trader” Trump. But if manipulating the market and American jobs are the issue, rather than tribalism and trying to harm some Americans to the enjoyment of others, what about imported oil and OPEC? Manipulating the market to gain market share at high prices is its very mission.