So, it happened. Late on January 22nd, President Trump created a 30% import tax on solar panels. This is a step in the wrong direction, but a tax can’t stop the solar movement. We’ll get past this.
This tax is intended to make American solar more competitive, but the majority of the U.S. solar industry is in installation, with only around 10% of the 260,000 American jobs in manufacturing. With the tariff raising prices on imported panels, solar adoption overall will slow, and the installation sector will be severely impacted. There are better ways to support U.S. manufacturing of solar panels that don’t include the loss of thousand of U.S. jobs in solar installation.
More fundamentally, however, we need to be reducing our dependence on oil, coal, and other dirty fuels, not taxing solar. You wouldn’t turn away a firefighter when your home is burning, and we shouldn’t be slowing the solar industry when climate change is accelerating.
But we prepared for this.
Since last summer, SunCommon staff worked hard to let folks know this tax might be coming, and we’re proud to say we have helped hundreds of Vermonters go solar before the tax hit. And because we knew prices might go up, we filled our warehouse to the brim with solar panels — enough to help another 150 households go solar at pre-tax prices!
Bottom line: the tax won’t stop us.
This tax is a bump in the road to be sure — an artificial price inflation created by bad policy. Thankfully, it would take much more to halt an industry with the strength and experience the US solar industry has achieved.
The tax will increase pricing on residential solar systems by about 5%, a similar order of magnitude to the 10% incentive drop that Vermont installers faced this time last year. We’ll weather this, just as we have each drop on the solar-coaster, drawing on our trademark innovation, creativity, and hard work.
At SunCommon, we believe that everyone has the right to a healthy environment and brighter future — and renewable energy is where it starts. The President may have put some speed bumps in front of us, but he can’t stop our momentum. We’re here for the long haul. This is what we do.