A decade long trade dispute comes to an end as President Trump imposes tariffs on solar energy equipment from China and other countries.
But for SolarWorld, one of the two solar manufacturers that filed the original complaint, the ruling is a case of be careful what you wish for. It is now incumbent on the domestic producer to show the world and Oregon that the reason solar manufacturing in this country struggles is because of a surge of cheap Chinese imports.
The problem is, we already know how this story ends, or at least what the next chapter will be.
Trump’s tariffs won’t alter significantly the cost of production in countries like Malaysia and South Korea, where companies will continue to make cells that are cheaper than the ones we produce in the U.S. And most energy experts expect the price of solar cells to increase, reducing the number of solar installations and costing jobs in the industry.
Plus, many of the issues that plague renewable energy generation in this country — an uncertain policy environment, meager federal investment and business support relative to our international counterparts — have yet to be resolved.
Your move, SolarWorld.
Yesterday’s vote in support of Medicaid health provider taxes could also impact the clean energy sector in Oregon. The yes vote takes some of the budget pressure off the legislature next session and makes it more likely that the Cap and Invest bill will get more playing time.