Back To Career News

Trump’s Tariff on Solar Panels Could Cost 23k Jobs, According to Industry Experts

Topics: Current Events

Earlier this week, President Trump approved a 30 percent tariff on certain imports, including solar panels.

The decision was positioned as a move to protect American manufacturing from competition by cheaper products from overseas.

However, some industry associations and solar companies are arguing that the tariff will devastate investment in the sector. It will also cost around 23,000 jobs this year, according to The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade association for the solar industry.

“While tariffs in this case will not create adequate cell or module manufacturing to meet U.S. demand, or keep foreign-owned Suniva and SolarWorld afloat, they will create a crisis in a part of our economy that has been thriving, which will ultimately cost tens of thousands of hard-working, blue-collar Americans their jobs,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s President and CEO, in a statement.

Protecting Manufacturing?

In a statement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said:

The ITC found that U.S. producers had been seriously injured by imports and made several recommendations to the President. Upon receiving these recommendations, my staff and I conducted an exhaustive process which included opportunities to brief in person and through public comments, public hearings, and meetings with senior representatives. Based on this information, the Trade Policy Committee developed recommendations, which the President has accepted. The President’s action makes clear again that the Trump Administration will always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses in this regard.

Some solar-panel manufacturers have applauded the move — for instance, Suniva and SolarWorld, which filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission last year. A lawyer representing SolarWorld described the two manufacturers as “the last two surviving companies” out of more than 30 U.S.-based solar-panel makers. (Bloomberg notes that Suniva has a Chinese majority owner and that SolarWorld is the U.S. unit of a German company.)

In a statement reported on by NPR, the CEO and President of SolarWorld Americas Inc., Juergen Stein, said:

SolarWorld Americas appreciates the hard work of President Trump, the U.S. Trade Representative, and this administration in reaching today’s decision, and the President’s recognition of the importance of solar manufacturing to America’s economic and national security. We are still reviewing these remedies, and are hopeful they will be enough to address the import surge and to rebuild solar manufacturing in the United States.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Tell Us What You Think

Do you work in the solar industry? If so, tell us how you anticipate these changes affecting your job. Share your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

Leave a Reply

1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
Jim Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

But the jobs in the Solar Industry are heavily subsidized by real tax payers. If solar made sense then why isn’t NASA going to use solar on the Moon or Mars, instead opting for a Nuclear power cells

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.