Earlier this week, an editorial by USA TODAY urged President Trump to reject solar tariffs due to the overwhelming negative repercussions that would impact workers in the American solar-industry. If you have not been following this story, here is a summary:
"On one side are manufacturers SolarWorld, a U.S. subsidiary of a German company, and Georgia-based Suniva, majority-owned by a Hong Kong firm. Both complained to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that cheap imports, mostly from China, were killing them. Suniva and the SolarWorld parent company are in bankruptcy proceedings.
They filed their ITC complaint under a seldom-used statute in which the criteria is nearly impossible to refute. Commissioners needed only to find that large numbers of an imported product were undercutting a U.S. manufacturer.
On the other side is the ever- expanding American industry that assembles and installs solar panels for homeowners, commercial projects, and solar farms. They include companies such as Tesla, which opened a new factory in Buffalo, N.Y., last month where 500 workers fashion solar panels using the low-cost imports. (Tesla, while it opposes tariffs, says it could absorb the higher product costs.)
Forgoing the oddity of German and Hong Kong parent companies asking for a tariff to bolster American manufacturing, the number of jobs at risk from fair, global competition is in the hundreds — while the assembly and installation sector could risk losing as many as 88,000 workers. In the long-term, this tariff would lead to two simple problems: making the American renewable energy industry less competitive and harming the American worker.
We at Nikola Power stand with the rest of the solar industry and reject the notion that this course of action will benefit us — we are strongly against the tariff.
– J.W. Postal, Founder & CEO