This week, Donald Trump put a 30% tariff on solar panels and other solar technology imported from other countries. Because of course he did. He has been resolute since taking office at damaging renewable energy production and propping up industries that rely on fossil fuels.
On Monday, Trump approved duties of as much as 30 percent on solar equipment made outside the U.S., a move that threatens to handicap a $28 billion industry that relies on parts made abroad for 80 percent of its supply.
The tariffs are the latest action by Trump to undermine the economics of renewables. The administration already decided to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, sought to roll back Obama-era regulations on power plant-emissions and signed sweeping tax reforms that constrained financing for solar and wind. The import taxes are the most targeted strike on the industry yet and may have larger consequences for the energy world…Just the threat of tariffs shook solar developers in recent months, with some hoarding panels and others stalling projects in anticipation of higher costs. The Solar Energy Industries Association projected 23,000 job losses this year in a sector that employed 260,000.
The very fact that we have to import this technology is a result of our government having failed to invest in next generation energy production, which allowed other countries to take the lead. And they did this because the oil, gas and coal industries hold enormous political power. As with so many other issues, the reason we’re in this situation is because big business can buy off politicians with campaign donations and third-party spending during campaigns. That is the single biggest problem at the core of our entire political system. If we don’t change that, we can’t fix a huge range of problems because money almost always gets its way.