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Author Topic: 30% tariff on solar panel imports  (Read 1148 times)

VallAndMo

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30% tariff on solar panel imports
« on: January 22, 2018, 06:01:16 PM »
Hello everyone,

Just got that in the news:
http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/370171-trump-imposes-30-tariffs-on-solar-panel-imports

Does it mean what I think it does, ie, our still-in-the-near-future solar panels just became 30% more expensive for no other reason than the government wants it so?

:-(

Cheers,
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   Vall.

Back2PA

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2018, 07:07:18 PM »
our still-in-the-near-future solar panels just became 30% more expensive for no other reason than the government wants it so?

The utilities have been lobbying for some time - there are tens of thousands of items made overseas that we all wish were made here, why suddenly the massive tariff on solar? Because rooftop solar represents the only competition to the electric utilities, and when it reached a price point that made it feasible for those willing to take a long view, it took off and the solar companies couldn't put them in fast enough. At first the utilities didn't take solar seriously, suddenly they were worried.

The first counterattack came in the form of changing the rate schedule for those with solar, taking the payback from an already long 12ish years, to well past 20 - obviously that alone kills it. Solar installers that I've spoken to in the Phoenix area have stated that installs have dried up just based on the rate changes. The stake in the heart is to raise the cost of the panels.

The electric utilities can see the end of the monopoly, they're just doing what they can to push it back as long as possible. The game changer for sticks and bricks is batteries (e.g., the "Tesla Wall"). When batteries get cheap enough users won't have to use the utility as a "storage bank", and can feel comfortable about pulling the plug.

RV solar buyers are just peripheral casualties, the target is sticks and bricks with rooftop.

(I'm no expert and this is obviously just my opinion. I had rooftop solar at the last house and was involved in hearings with our local utility, and due to my involvement fighting the local utility in print ended up having some dealings with attorneys representing Solar City and others fighting the rate changes.)

One thing, a 30% increase in the cost for solar panels in an RV install, because there are so few, while not insignificant does not represent a 30% increase in the cost of the system. Still a bummer.
Scott
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SargeW

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2018, 12:05:16 AM »
I had a solar system at the last stick house in San Diego county in Ca. In that location, it was somehow "illegal" to go completely off grid. I had 5800 watts of solar on the roof, but could not install a battery bank.
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VallAndMo

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2018, 02:06:38 AM »
Thanks for the input, Sun2Retire and SargeW. Seems there's a lot more going on (and for a lot longer) than I knew about...

Cheers,
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   Vall.

spencerpj

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2018, 08:05:18 AM »

From another more neutral news source: ".... promise to get tough on the country that produces the most panels ó China.







Oldgator73

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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2018, 10:08:12 AM »
Quote
Does it mean what I think it does, ie, our still-in-the-near-future solar panels just became 30% more expensive for no other reason than the government wants it so?

The short answer is Yes. 

The rationale is to protect the American producers of solar panels, who have been effectively priced out of the market by lower-priced imports. So, in order to protect the US solar manufacturers and the workers in those factories, consumers get to pay higher prices. The downside is that higher priced components make the systems less affordable, so there is a high risk that people simply won't buy as many, so the manufacturer still loses. Furthermore, the businesses that sell solar at retail, and the people who install those system, have less work. Or maybe none at all. Everybody likes the idea of Buy American, but few are willing to pay the price difference that often results.

Protective tariffs are usually short-sighted and narrowly benefit some selected industry. Few tariffs help the country as a whole or even the target industry in the long term.  However, it is not productive to get into a debate of free trade vs tariffs here. Far too complex and sure to end up politically charged.
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John From Detroit

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2018, 10:20:30 AM »
Well there is a reason. Faulty though the logic may be.. but basically you MAY be correct.

Many Solar panels are manufactured right here in the good old USA  I do not know if the prices on those panels will increase but.. likely they will (Corporate Greed is the reason here, not taxes/Tariffs)

The Logic behind the tariff, which by the way is actually Good logic,a s far as it goes, is this.. T.Rump promised JOBS for Americans, and so far other than defense attornies he's not done much in that area. But the reasons companys are sending jobs out of the country, I might add at record rates, is the cost of labor. Why pay 25 dollars an hour when you can pay 25 cents a day? 

The Tarrif is an attempt to "Level the playing ffield" Between US workers and China/Korea/Et-al.. Sounds good right?

The backfire is that China, Korea, Et-Al, have slapped even larger tarifffs on US Exports.  (So we loose again to the greedy).
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Oldgator73

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2018, 10:34:14 AM »
Eugene Wilkie at Now Solar has predicted 23,000 jobs will be lost due to the tariffs.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2018, 12:23:49 PM »
Yeah, I saw that projection. He believes that few people will buy solar at all at the higher price point and thus much of the retail and installation business will be lost.  Solar is already expensive and Wilkie believes the extra 30% will push the solar sell & install busness back to the level of 10+ years ago.  I personally don't think it will be that bad, but do believe there will be a major cutback.  I guess we get to see, but it will take a year or so to prove out, one way or the other.

According to reports, the tariff is not a 30% across the board increase on imported panels. This brief description found in a BBC article explains that some 11.5M panels will be free of any tariff.
Quote
...the tariff increase on imported solar cells and modules in the first year will be 30%, falling to 15% by the fourth year, although 2.5 gigawatts (GW) of imported cells - enough for about 11.5 million panels - will be allowed in tariff-free annually.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 12:28:15 PM by Gary RV_Wizard »
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Dreamsend

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2018, 01:00:33 PM »
Tariffs are ALWAYS a bad idea.  They cause distortion to the workings of free markets, which if left alone, will always allocate goods and services to their highest value uses.  That said, I see this as another example of the gov't right hand being ignorant of the left hand.  There is still a 30% TAX CREDIT for the purchase and installation of solar systems - which was enacted and extended to bolster the entire solar marketplace in the USA -- to help create markets for alternative energy equipment, installation etc..  It was not enacted as a break to taxpayers in other words.  So now, estimating that jobs will be LOST, what good is the tax credit for the solar industry in the overall picture?  Dismal? 

I'll bet in the long run the Chinese will figure out a way to make those panels cheaper than the US can even WITH a 30% tariff.  Seems to me we been through this 30 years ago on a much, much, much larger scale with the entire steel industry!  I hope they do, and I hope the jobs won't be lost. 

L



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Bill N

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2018, 01:27:37 PM »
I think China and Russia are two countries that we should not be dependent  on for anything yet there are so many Chinese products in our stores that it will take a major effort to change them over to American made.  So should we not even try?  China is now a major supplier of rare earth metals something that pervades a  lot more of our life than I ever imagined especially the military.  The US and several other companies have (and had) the capability to provide these metals but the process is long and expensive yet depending on China places us at a major risk of being cut off. Same thing as being dependent on Russian rocket engines - they are fixing that now.  We need to return America to the manufacturing giant that it once was.  Imagine attempting to defend ourselves now in a major war.  We would be seriously deficient in many of the materials needed to sustain our efforts.

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Dreamsend

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2018, 04:59:43 PM »
I emailed AM Solar to see I could purchase my panels now and inquired if they expected higher prices.  They responded with an official email which allows me to buy them at the current price even though my install is not till May 14.  And they said they are raising their panel prices "due to increased demand".  Ummm, someone mentioned greed!  I presume they mean in the short-run, because if the solar market collapses as some are predicting, then they may have to lower prices to get business.  But this is RV and not residential markets.

Agree 100% with you BillN.  There are so many horns on this devil however, I don't  think America can ever return, and in many ways it shouldn't-- unsafe conditions, discrimination, labor law violations, etc.  But as you say the number of products supplied by China is just sickening.  The food supply is my big beef -- you know, all those fortified enzymes, vitamins, and stuff to make you and your pets healthy, and preservatives, etc. they all come from China.  Especially the darn "pea protein" -- you can't FIND a pet food that doesn't contain it, because it's cheaper than meat or fish, and carnivores need peas like they need raspberries, arugala, blueberries, cherries and all that other vegetable stuff.  All the pea protein comes from China.

Rant done.  Linda
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Back2PA

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2018, 07:58:59 AM »
Tariffs by their nature are political, and this issue definitely impacts RV owners considering adding solar so itís worth discussion. However please refrain from any divisive commentary. (This is in response to a post which violated forum rules.)
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 08:01:06 AM by Sun2Retire »
Scott
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Denver Transplant

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2018, 09:45:55 AM »
The tariff news prompted me to go ahead and buy the solar panels for my ACE 30.1. I've been on the fence for awhile and needed something to provide the push.

I've seen some articles saying that the tariff will increase total installed cost of a home solar installation by 5 to 10%, provided labor and other material costs are the same. I also saw an interesting article that pointed out that bare solar cells (not assembled into panels) are mostly exempt from the tariff - the first 5 TW of power is exempt, but the maximum historical import of bare cells is more like 500 MW. The main beneficiary of the exemption was cited as being Tesla. Also saw another article that claimed that the major US solar manufacturers are mostly owned by China and Germany. So I have questions on who is really benefiting.

Back in my ARCO days, we had a solar business, but it was sold off in 1990 because it wasn't making any money. ARCO Solar got sold to Siemens, who then later sold it off to Shel and are now still in business as Solar World. Most of the plants were in Southern California with the big one being in Camarillo (nice place to live). I think they are still mostly there. SolarWorld has a retail business, but it appears their big business is the multi MW solar farms and Commerical installations.
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kportra

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2018, 10:32:41 AM »
I work for one of those much maligned utilties.  Here's the skinny on some of the controversy.  Unless you actually disconnect the power line from your house and have no meter, the utility has expenses that need to be recouped.  Costs that go into the power rate include the cost of the power itself - that you are not using, costs of the Transmission Lines and Substations to get the power to your area, costs of the Distribution Lines and Transformers to get it to your neighborhood, meter costs, and maintenance and replacement costs.  If you still expect to turn on the light when your solar is not producing power, then you are using all of those facilities that have to be there 24/7 regardless of your self generated power. 

As for the batteries and not being allowed to completely disconnect and go off-grid.  That makes no sense to me.
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Debra17

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2018, 03:50:12 PM »
I emailed AM Solar to see I could purchase my panels now and inquired if they expected higher prices.  They responded with an official email which allows me to buy them at the current price even though my install is not till May 14.  And they said they are raising their panel prices "due to increased demand".  Ummm, someone mentioned greed!  I presume they mean in the short-run, because if the solar market collapses as some are predicting, then they may have to lower prices to get business.  But this is RV and not residential markets.

Agree 100% with you BillN.  There are so many horns on this devil however, I don't  think America can ever return, and in many ways it shouldn't-- unsafe conditions, discrimination, labor law violations, etc.  But as you say the number of products supplied by China is just sickening.  The food supply is my big beef -- you know, all those fortified enzymes, vitamins, and stuff to make you and your pets healthy, and preservatives, etc. they all come from China.  Especially the darn "pea protein" -- you can't FIND a pet food that doesn't contain it, because it's cheaper than meat or fish, and carnivores need peas like they need raspberries, arugala, blueberries, cherries and all that other vegetable stuff.  All the pea protein comes from China.

Rant done.  Linda

My kitty eats Fussie Cat dry food. It is manufactured in the US and all ingredients are sourced within the US. (When I was researching it, I called the company to confirm this) It does contain whole green peas, but not pea protein. Itís a very good quality product and Misty loves it.
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catblaster

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2018, 06:52:54 PM »


As for the batteries and not being allowed to completely disconnect and go off-grid.  That makes no sense to me.

  Florida has it written in their building code that a residence must have electricity connected to their home, or it did when I was an inspector. It did not mention the presence of batteries, of course this is only Florida that I speak of.....your mileage may vary.
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TonyDtorch

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2018, 07:03:37 PM »
oddly,

 There is an import tariff on American motorcycles going into many other countries,  countries that produce motorcycles.

a tariff as much as 100% ... :o

« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 07:32:32 PM by TonyDtorch »

Oldgator73

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2018, 08:03:56 PM »
When I sold my Harley in England I had to pay a 28% tax.  But it is estimated by some that the 30% tariff on solar will cost us 23,000 jobs and cost us 30%+ for the products. So who is the winner?
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TonyDtorch

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Re: 30% tariff on solar panel imports
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2018, 09:01:54 PM »
I heard on ABC news that a large American solar panel mfg company is hiring thousands of people.   

But then so are many other American companies because of the tax cut... Apple coming back into America, Starbucks, and others giving out bonus checks etc..   

sounds like some good news........ (for once in almost a decade). 

 sorry but.... In my 'World' economy.....the American economy should come first.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 09:16:43 PM by TonyDtorch »