Earlier this month, the Trump Administration announced a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels.
The administration touted the move as a crackdown on Chinese solar companies, and an opportunity for American companies to sell their products more widely.
Much of the solar panels used in United States come from Asia. In Idaho, solar company AltEnergy buys panels mostly from Canada and Mexico – and is paying close attention to the tariff news. Billy Mann heads up the company’s Sun Valley office, and says it’s not clear how much of an impact the tax will have.
“What this tariff is, is really is just too little too late," Mann says.
Mann says it would have been great to see this kind of American-made focus a decade ago, when the Chinese government was heavily investing in solar.
He says the tariff will raise prices and could make his job of selling and installing panels more difficult in the short-term. But he’s hopeful that it will help his business in the long-run.
“If that happens, that would be a thing of beauty, and if we’ve got to have a short-term correction to deal with the increase then I say, ‘so be it.’"
He says Idaho’s solar industry is growing – and business in the Wood River Valley shows no signs of slowing down – even with the tariff.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio