When President Trump announced that he will be withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement during the summer of last year, it comes as no surprise that clean energy is not at the top of his priorities.
On Monday afternoon, the Trump administration released a document detailing new tariffs on imports, which includes a tariff schedule for solar cells and modules. The U.S. will impose duties of as much as 30% on solar equipment made abroad. This move poses a threat to a $28 billion industry that relies on foreign products to create 80% of its supply.
The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that this move will cause 23,000 Americans to lose their jobs this year. 27 manufacturers also asked the U.S. Trade Commission not to implement the tariffs as it would double the price of solar panels and hurt demand.
Solar companies and citizens are expressing their concerns online.
As a solar company, we are devastated to learn Trump has imposed a 30% tariff on solar panels virtually killing the solar industry. Solar employs more people than coal and oil combined. today’s decision will cause the loss of roughly 23,000 American jobs this year.
— Eugene Wilkie (@NOW1SOLAR) January 22, 2018
PLEASE don’t kill Solar with high tarrifs, we need clean energy, and you will kill solar, My Husband’s livelyhood! 10%, 15%, not 30% https://t.co/UxAFFQTGH3
— Laurice Galletta (@LauriceGalletta) January 23, 2018
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg also expressed his thoughts on Twitter.
Taxing solar panels up to 30% will destroy U.S. jobs, raise Americans’ electric bills and hurt our environment. Congress should stand up for American workers and consumers and overturn the administration’s harmful decision. https://t.co/TBdgQ1LluV
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) January 23, 2018
Despite the backlash, Trump disagrees and believes that the tariffs will lead to more U.S. manufacturing jobs by preventing cheap foreign goods from undercutting domestic products.
“You’re going to have people getting jobs again and we’re going to make our own product again. It’s been a long time,” Trump said as he signed the order on Tuesday. “Our action today helps to create jobs in America, for Americans.”
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