Donald Trump Just Declared War on Solar Energy


President Donald Trump has repeatedly voiced his support for the fossil fuel industry, but his biggest move against renewable energy thus far came on Monday.

The Trump administration has decided to put a tariff on imported solar panels.

Bloomberg reported that the U.S. will now impose duties as high as 30 percent on solar energy equipment that is manufactured abroad. Trump signed off on four years of solar tariffs that start at 30 percent in the first year and eventually drop down to 15 percent. According to a statement from Trump on Monday, the first 2.5 gigawatts of imported solar cells will be exempt from the tariffs.

The $28 billion solar industry relies on foreign manufacturers to make 80 percent of its supply of parts.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the tariff could result in tens of thousands of jobs lost from the sector.

The idea was to bolster U.S. production of solar materials, but also to raise the cost of cheaper, imported panels from China and other Asian countries. That said, a Bloomberg analyst said the move may cause developers to walk away from their projects, and cost solar installers and companies that make related technology to shed jobs.

This is just the latest assault by Trump on renewable resources. In the summer of 2017, Trump said he was pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement. He also struck down Obama-era regulations on power plant-emissions. The GOP’s tax bill contained a deduction for investors in oil and gas corporations, but constrained financing for solar and wind projects. Since the campaign trail, Trump has continuously advocated for revitalizing the coal industry. He appointed Scott Pruitt — who sued the EPA more than a dozen times on behalf of the oil industry — to head the EPA and oil industry friend and corporate officer Rick Perry to lead the Department of Energy.