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New solar panel tariff creates a murky future for California’s industry




SolarCraft worker Joel Overly carries a solar panel on the roof of a home on February 26, 2015 in San Rafael, California.
SolarCraft worker Joel Overly carries a solar panel on the roof of a home on February 26, 2015 in San Rafael, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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California is the number one state for both solar panel jobs and customers, so it goes without saying that Trump’s increased tariff on imported solar goods will affect the state dramatically.

The move began last year, when two major solar panel manufacturers, SolarWorld Americas and Suniva, filed petitions to the trade commission asking for higher tariffs to be placed on imported solar products. They argued that the tariffs would protect domestic manufacturers against international producers whose products are significantly lower in price.

But this isn’t to say that all U.S.-based solar producers feel the same. Many argue that the inevitable price increase will deter buyers from going solar, which could pose a threat to thousands of jobs. Those involved in the solar installation industry in particular would be the hardest hit, as less buyers would mean less panels to install.

We analyze the impact of the tariff and discuss what the solar industry’s future in California looks like.

Guest:

Suvi Sharma, the chief executive of Solaria, a solar panel maker headquartered in Fremont, California, that makes products in both the United States and South Korea