How the 2018 Solar Tariffs Will Affect Prices

By Hannah Glenn
February 15, 2018
How the 2018 Solar Tariff will Affect Prices

If you’re considering solar, you might be wondering how the recently mandated solar tariffs could affect the price of solar. Will it nudge the needle in a negligible uptick, or skyrocket prices beyond your reach?

Here’s a fact sheet to break down the proceedings and how it could affect solar prices.

A Timeline of the U.S. Solar Tariffs and Solar Trade War

  • Between 2005 and 2012, China’s contribution to global solar cell manufacture increased from 7 percent to 60 percent. Inexpensive imported solar panels spurred U.S. solar installation to more than triple between 2012 and 2016.
  • In April 2017, Suniva requested a 40 percent tariff on solar module imports. SolarWorld joined the petition in May 2017. This was meant to offset their disadvantage against foreign module manufacturers. They claimed these foreign imports were underselling them and crippling their own manufacturing facilities.

Here’s the schedule of the tariff decrease from the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) fact sheet.

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What the New Solar Tariffs Mean for the Price of Solar

  • While the tariffs may help some solar panel manufacturers, it could hurt many other parts of the industry, such as mounting manufacturers and installers. This could result in significant job losses (currently estimated at 23,000) in the solar industry and slow installation rates.
  • The tariffs will likely increase the cost of residential rooftop systems by just 3 percent. Importantly, the tariff only applies to the solar equipment, and not other costs associated with a residential installation.

Solar Tariffs and Your Solar Project

  • While it might be disheartening to see any increase in cost, the benefits of capturing your own electricity still outweighs this.
  • As long as you’re depending on utility companies’ increasing costs, you’re paying more every month. This becomes more true every year as energy costs rise, especially in sunny states like California.
  • Regardless of solar tariffs causing a potential slight uptick in prices for modules, homeowners will still save money with a rooftop solar system in the long run.

Here's what solar prices look like before and after the solar tariff, for an example 7kW system:

2018 Solar Tariff Pricing with Pick My Solar

Tools Like Pick My Solar Mitigate Solar Tariff Costs

When you use a platform like Pick my Solar, you receive several quotes from vetted solar companies. This gives you the knowledge to make a powerful choice and be sure you’re not paying more than necessary. Find out more about how to get the best price for what you need and reduce any percentage difference – new or old.

View our 2018 Solar Starter Guide

Hannah Glenn

Written By

Hannah Glenn

Hannah Glenn is a writer specializing in renewable energy and healthcare. When not 10 inches from a computer screen, Hannah loves hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains and reading National Geographic.

More articles by Hannah Glenn

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