Possible tariff on imported solar panels makes the industry nervous

Keith Schneider for The Los Angeles Times:  Until the last few weeks, Christopher Hanson’s work as a foreman installing rooftop solar systems was as bright and steady as the midmorning Wasatch Front sun. By his measure, Hanson has completed over 2,000 residential solar projects in his nearly five-year career, including one more he’s about to finish for Vivint Solar here in the suburbs south of Salt Lake City.

Now Hanson is nervous for his job. On Tuesday, the U.S. International Trade Commission is scheduled to start considering a tariff on imports of the most popular photovoltaic generating panels used in the booming U.S. residential and utility-scale solar markets. A stiff tariff could double the price of imported photovoltaic panels made from crystalline silicon, an outcome that is either calamitous or full of opportunity for the burgeoning solar industry, depending on how you look at it.

Two international solar panel producers with United States plants say they need protection from low-cost imports. Most of the industry, though, clamors to maintain a sure supply of inexpensive foreign panels to meet the rocketing demand for residential and industrial solar installations.

The trade commission’s decision will be transmitted to President Trump on Nov. 13. Whatever the outcome, the tariff case has riven the $30-billion U.S. solar sector and darkened Utah’s Wasatch Front — and almost every other region where solar-powered electrical generation is one of the brightest spots in industry.  Full Article:

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