ITC rules in favor of U.S. solar cell manufacturers
If two bankrupt solar companies have their way, by January 2018 solar panel prices will increase dramatically because of a pending trade case set to land on the President’s desk in November.
In September the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in favor of two bankrupt solar manufacturers, siting that the companies were harmed because of the global surge of low-cost panels manufactured outside of the United States. The low-cost manufacturing capabilities of these global manufacturers have contributed to the increased adoption of solar panel installation in the United States and have made solar power more affordable to homeowners.
In a hearing set for today, the International Trade Commission will begin making recommendations as to which penalties should be enforced moving forward. Following the ITC recommendations, President Trump will have the final decision as to what, if any, tariffs will be imposed upon solar panel manufacturers whose panel production operations exist outside of the U.S.
Will Solar panels remain affordable?
If the current administration imposes tariffs and a price floor, as proposed by the injured companies, homeowners can expect shockingly higher prices moving forward.
In an analysis performed by GTM, customers could expect the price of solar to double in the utility sector in 2018. This means prices for solar panels will return to the previous price levels of 2012.
Homeowners could see overall installation costs increase by as much as 40% starting in 2018!
This means a 5.00 kW (average system size for homeowners) sold at a cash price of $15,500.00 would costs consumers as much as $6,200 more in 2018.
A penalty in favor of the United States solar panel manufacturers would greatly affect the hundreds of thousands of people employed in the United States solar industry.
Currently, only about 1000 out of the 200,000 jobs in the industry can be attributed to local (U.S. based) solar cell manufacturing in the United States. Apart from cell manufacturing, the United States is home to wide array of solar manufacturing materials including racking, inverters, and balance of system components. There are nearly 38,121 jobs in this sector, all of which would be deeply impacted by rising solar panel costs (information obtained form SEIA.org).
Will prices rise in New Mexico?
The short answer is that prices are already increasing, as installers and manufacturers navigate the uncertainties of the trade case.
The many questions that are still unanswered have prompted solar panel manufacturers to re-allocate solar panels globally, while local demand has increased. Some solar installers have preemptively purchased larger quantities of solar panel shipments to help support demand in the upcoming months.
Sol Luna Solar is committed to offering the compeitive prices that our organization was founded upon. To do this, we have stocked our warehouse with Canadian Solar manufactured panels. Canadian solar offers peace of mind to our customers in that they hold a large share of the global module market; therefore providing added security to customers for warranty delivery and performance. Despite the increasing prices, Canadian Solar will have the ability to rise above the current volatility in the local (United States) market because of their global capacity.
Is now the time to install solar?
Despite the uncertainties of the solar market for the coming year, Sol Luna Solar is still able to offer competitive pricing for the remainder of 2017. In addition, the government is still offering generous solar tax credits to homeowners living in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, and beyond. The investment tax credit of 30% is set to phase out in 2019 so it’s important that customers take advantage of lower-cost installation during the next two months before solar panel tariffs and price floors dictate the price in which installers, like Sol Luna Solar can deliver installation to homeowners.