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Do Trump’s Import Tariffs Mean the End of Solar? The Trump Import Tax Explained

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Do Trump’s Import Tariffs Mean the End of Solar? If there’s one thing we’ve learned on this channel, it’s that solar and renewable energy are incredibly controversial. So we figured what better way to avoid controversy than to discuss President Trump’s new Tariff on Solar Imports, and what it means for the Solar Industry and residential solar installations in the United States.President Trump is about as polarizing a figure as there is, and he’s been on the warpath throwing down tariffs at every turn. But unlike raw steel or aluminum, his tariffs on imported solar panels can actually affect the average consumer directly. But let’s try to break this down in a fair and balanced way, see precisely what has changed, and what this will mean for the future of solar.As of February 2018, the US will levy a 30% tax in all imported solar cells, and assembled panels. The first 2.5 gigawatts of solar panels imported will be exempt each year. This translates to about 8 million 300w panels, and the tax will apply to every panel imported after that. The tariff will decrease by 5% per year for 4 years, then disappear. So it’s something, but this isn’t exactly going to be the death of solar. We’ll explain in a minute.This decision wasn’t Trump’s alone, as the US International Trade Commission actually voted 4-0 that cheap international panels had hurt two domestic manufacturers: Suniva, and SolarWorld. Trump has always had a bone to pick with China, and this move may seem “America First,” but Suniva, is actually majority Chinese Owned. Oh and SolarWorld, well they’re a German Company. Sure they do manufacture in the US, and that does lead to some jobs, but these aren’t American companies. And if that wasn’t complicated enough, several American companies, have plants creating solar panels abroad in other countries. So how much it will help and hurt US interests, is anything but clear.While this tariff might make US solar manufacturing competitive, it will definitely hurt solar installers. Solar manufacturing plants are largely automated and only result in hundreds to a few thousand jobs. Solar installers, however, are the most significant growth sector for the past few years, and now account for over 250,000 jobs! These are jobs in accounting, marketing, construction, and administration. This is twice the size of jobs in wind power, and 5 times larger than coal. Installing solar can’t be outsourced, its results in jobs right here in the US, and there are new small businesses in this industry popping up all the time. And small businesses, as we all know, are the backbone of the US economy.So if you were thinking about getting solar, is it lights out, on the solar party? Luckily, the answer is no, and here’s why. The US average price for solar installation is about $3.00 per watt. The average installation size is 5kW which means the average price is $15,000 before tax credits. But that’s the total price, and the tariff will only affect the actual panel. Installers buy in bulk and are paying closer to $0.50 per watt so the standard install of 5kWs will cost an installer about $2500 and that means this new tariff will cost a homeowner an extra $750. So the sky isn’t exactly falling, and if solar made sense for you before, it probably still does. And before you think, I’ll just wait 4 years for the tariff to end, don’t forget the Tax credits will end around that time as well.So what was the point of this tariff in the first place? It doesn’t really address the problem it was created to solve, and it's hard to see who the real winners are. It does give Trump supporters another ceremonial anecdote on how he’s “tough on China” and in the end, that might have been the point all along.In another very ironic twist, what Trump is essentially doing, is muddling with the affairs of American companies like First Solar, propping them up and playing favorites. The very same behavior which earned President Obama so much ire and backlash, when he was reportedly doing the same sorts of things with Solyndra, an American company that shuttered its doors in 2011.So what do you think about his policies? Do you believe they are a good idea and will give American manufacturers a leg up to further drive innovations? Will it set the world back decades? Let us know in the comments!Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/twobitdavinci We Love VideoBlocks. Sign up for a free trial: https://videoblocks.go2cloud.org/SHBt Visit our Site: http://www.twobitdavinci.com Socials: @TwoBitDaVinciYou can Help Support Two Bit da Vinci by following our affiliate links. It's free, and we get a commission to help us keep doing what we love. Two Bit da Vinci is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.Thank You,Chris & Ricky

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