Since President Donald Trump approved a “reckless” 30 percent tariff on imported panel materials in January, U.S. clean energy developers have shelved more than $2.5 billion in solar projects, moves that have cost thousands of American jobs, according to Reuters.
“There could be substantially more employment without a tariff.”
The first company to fall victim to the Trump-imposed tariff—which will decline by five percent annually over a four-year period—announced it would halt a planned $20 million expansion just days after the president signed off on the U.S. International Trade Commission proposal, but others quickly followed suit.
“Leading utility-scale developer Cypress Creek Renewables LLC said it had been forced to cancel or freeze $1.5 billion in projects—mostly in the Carolinas, Texas, and Colorado—because the tariff raised costs beyond the level where it could compete,” Reuters reports.
Those 150 or so stalled projects “would have employed three thousand or more workers during installation” and “accounted for a fifth of the company’s overall pipeline.” Southern Current has similarly slashed plans for $1 billion of projects.
Pine Gate, citing Trump’s tariff, “withdrew an 80-megawatt project that would have cost up to $150 million from consideration in a bidding process held by Southern Co. utility Georgia Power,” is only pursuing half of the 400 megawatts of solar installations it had planned 2018, and will no longer add 30 permanent employees.
The collective cost of just these three developers’ decisions, Reuters notes, works out to “more than double the about $1 billion in new spending plans announced by firms building or expanding U.S. solar panel factories to take advantage of the tax on imports.”
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