US solar tariffs impact the price you pay. On January 22nd, 2018, the Trump Administration levied a 30% tariff on solar imports to the United States. The tariff covers both imported solar cells, a key input to manufacturing solar panels, and solar modules, otherwise known as solar panels. According to a fact sheet released by the U.S. Trade Representative, this tariff will last for four years and will fall by 5% annually, dropping to a 15% tariff in 2021.
What this solar tariff means for American consumers
Due to advances in solar manufacturing, the cost of solar panels has fallen by between 2% and 6% per year for the past several years. In China, South Korea, and other countries that dominate solar panel manufacturing, falling costs and technological advances won’t slow down simply because there is a U.S. tariff – and in fact, the tariff may give them an incentive to decrease costs faster.
In fact, due to increases in production and due to over-reaction to the tariffs, solar module prices are down about 12 percent globally since China announced changes to its incentives for solar power on June 1 that have led to an oversupply of panels that had been intended for installation in China, the world’s largest solar market.