On Monday January 22nd, the president approved a proceeding to levy a tariff on all imported solar cells and solar panels. This is a declining tariff set to expire 4 years from the date it is fully executed (February 6th, 2018) which is slated to begin at 30% and decrease 5% annually until its end at 15% in 2021.
What Fed the Tariff Decision?
Leading the charge in this trade case were two foreign-controlled US manufacturing companies. These two companies (Suniva and SolarWorld) took a plea of injury to the International Trade Commission (ITC) back in early 2017. The injury claimed was that foreign manufactured solar module imports were undercutting the US market by “dumping” lower cost solar modules; effectively beating them at their own game.
This tariff has far reaching implications that solar installers nationwide will now need to posture for. Arguably, it will likely not make as large of an impact in US based solar module manufacturing, as intended, however, it will affect pricing across the board. These impacts are going to hit larger scale developers the hardest but will undoubtedly trickle down to even the smallest residential installers.
How will the tariff affect Cost?
Throughout the past 6 months the cost of solar panels has been on an incline due to the speculation surrounding the ITC ruling back in early fall ($0.10/W — $500). With the additional 30% tariff the expected increase in panel prices will approach $0.10 – $0.15/W or $500 to $750 on the typical residential solar system. These increases in costs will be partly off-set by an increase in the tax credit amounts that reduce the system’s overall cost. Read more about the incentives on our website.
2018 and Beyond
For the next several months the cost of solar modules is likely to not increase significantly due to a yearly capacity exemption (2.5 GigaWatts) within the tariff’s outline. Furthermore, it is expected that the cost of solar modules will likely continue to decline which will help to offset the burden that the tariff has directly and indirectly imposed on the solar installation industry.
Going Solar in 2018
Despite the tariff, Downstream’s commitment to our solar marketplace here in Central New York and the Adirondacks remains steadfast. We’re certain that these pricing obstacles can be overcome by innovation and a smarter more efficient work ethic.
With that said, we have already begun to adopt a new high-tech remote site assessment tool, a new high efficiency module supplier, and additional staff training to renew this commitment.
The question remains though, will 2018 be the year that you join us in making Oneida and Lewis Counties the solar energy capitals of CNY? Or will you continue to sit back and “lease” your energy from the Grid?
We’re here to help you lock in your electricity costs for 25+ years. Contact us today to do your part.
— Nick Kirk, Downstream Construction