Trump slaps 30% tariff on imported solar-cells




Free Markets! Until the market does better than I can manage and threatens to swallow my business at which point please let the government step in and prop up my business that is unable to compete. Anyways, we all know the future is “clean coal” The job creation will most likely create billions of new jobs as we have people scrub the coal with soap and brushes to get it super clean before it’s burned up in magical clean burning furnaces that that pull a mediocre amount of CO2 from the exhausts that coal companies have fought tooth and nail against for decades.

I heard about this a bit last summer about the possible tariff’s or levy’s being tacked onto imported solar panels. It bummed me out since solar is far from a perfect power generator but it does work quite well in a lot of regions and could cut down individual homes need for power from the grid. The main argument I heard for why the tariff needed to happen was that the Chinese government was heavily subsidizing alternative energy projects like solar panel production plants and wind turbine plants as they’ve doubled down on trying to transition to non-carbon producing power options and dramatically reducing their overall carbon footprint as they’ve seen the current predicaments of deadly levels of smog in their larger cities. Domestic solar panel plants in the US couldn’t compete on price with all the subsidies china plants were getting to crank out the solar panels. I just wish instead of trying to renew coal jobs and hold onto a past that’s rapidly fading away that America had also doubled down on renewable energy initiatives that will continue to grow into the future.

for an article about china’s renewable subsideies

I mean if he honestly wants to compete with China in the solar industry, he should have come up with a plan to compete with them in the rare earth metals area instead of this tariffs nonsense. With how solar keeps getting cheaper and cheaper, in a few months those panels could end up costing 30% or more cheaper kinda defeating the point of that tariff eventually because even after all that it still could be more economical to go green.

Hell, with a decent enough plan he could get those out of work coal miners digging out rare metals out of mines and possibly dredged out of the ocean. He’s desperately trying to delay the inevitable and hurting everyone who now works in solar in the US.

Trying desperately to convince myself that Trump and friends didn’t move investment $$$ into American solar months ago.

What rare metals are you referring to, specifically? I’ve worked in the solar industry for many years and the rarest metal I’ve encountered in mainstream, mass-production silicon solar cells – which is more than 90% of the market – is silver (which is really not so terribly rare).

I’ll grant you that some mass-production solar cells use much rarer metals like tellurium and indium, but China is not a major producer of tellurium (nor is the US) and – as I noted above – less than 10% of global production of solar cells uses either metal.

All of that said, pretty much the entire supply chain for solar panels is located in China these days. All of the components are readily available outside of China, but they are most certainly available in the largest quantities and at the lowest prices in China.

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Given that US jobs are in installation rather than manufacturing and he also put a tariff on newsprint, let’s not even pretend this is anything other than a punitive measure targeting industries Trump doesn’t like.

The US was the world’s largest producer of solar panels through about the late '90s, when Japan briefly took the lead before Europe rather decisively became the manufacturing leader. China really began ramping up production around 2008 and surpassed Europe just a few years later, but by then US manufacturers were primarily startups who either had pilot lines of no commercial consequence in the US or who were in the early stages of production – and the vast majority of them did that production overseas, often in China.

A lot of these startups went out of business because that’s mostly what startups do (in any industry). A few of them were acquired by other companies, a few of them were successful, but mostly they failed. The fact that these were startups with almost no real manufacturing capacity didn’t stop the companies that initiated the process that led to this latest round of tariffs from claiming that some enormous number of American manufacturers had been put out of business by Chinese competition. In reality, sure, one or two, maybe even a handful, might have made it through without cutthroat competition, but the vast majority of them were headed for bankruptcy regardless.

Rare earth metals? I freely admit that I am not well-read on the subject. A quick Google turns up:

One crazy thought would be to, I dunno, set up a ton of solar manufacturing in coal country… But I suppose that would be a bit “socialist” and thus “horrible.”


Yeah, but remember… He’s the Antichrist, and is trying to destroy the planet. His actions make a lot more sense when you run them through that filter…

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I’ll know Trump is serious about China when he slaps a 50% tariff on apparel imports.


The production of solar can be a very messy business and it consumes vast amounts of energy. Two of the largest reason why it’s difficult for US solar to stay competitive. Many of the cheapest solar cells come at great cost to the environment. Even if the orange one’s motives are questionable I’m still pleased to see the price of coalfire solar increase.

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No, of the four members of the United States International Trade Commission who recommended the action one was appointed by President G. W. Bush and three by President Obama.

The Presidential proclamation can be seen at
The Commission report can be seen at

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It seems he is trying to show Kim Jung how to be a true isolationist.

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When the closest ( US land boarder) trade partner signs deals with overseas countries, after walking out a year earlier on those deals, it seems clear whom the deal maker and its not Canada.

hey now. only far-white republicans are supposed to pick winners and losers.

Well… In that case, isn’t it conceivable this is actually a reasonable economic decision instead of another knee-jerk reaction by a man with a questionable grip on reality in general? Or is that too much to hope for?

“The US solar industry enjoys an investment tax credit based on the cost of the solar-power system. The owner of the solar project can take a credit against their taxes for 30% of the vast majority of costs (some costs are excluded but we’ll ignore those at the moment). The new import tariff will be one of those costs. So if the tariff cost is passed onto the customer, the amount of tax credit will increase.”

Enter Big Banks:

“The tax-credit benefit doesn’t go to solar companies. It goes to a select number of large banks that can manage the credit’s complexity. In 2017, 75% of the total tax credit, or $3.5 billion, was taken by five banks: Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, and Bank of New York Mellon”

Surprise. Surprise.

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Unfortunately, global warming is, well, global. So in the end Canadians lose too…

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