SPRINGFIELD, Mo -- Missouri's largest solar company's warehouse is full of materials proudly labeled with the red, white, and blue; Except for a 3 month supply of solar panels neatly stacked in the corner.
"There just aren't enough solar panels produced in the United States to supply our need." CEO of Sun Solar, Caleb Arthur, was forced to pre-buy and expedite shipments ahead of rising costs.These in particular came from a manufacturer in Canada, but estimations say that nearly 75% of American supply comes from China.
President Trump continued his America-first agenda on Monday by passing a 4 year tariff on all solar panel imports from the Asian country. "It is a very big industry and we are going to have a lot of plants built here in the United States," he said after signing legislation.
The International Trade Commission claims that imports are hurting American manufacturing, but professionals in the industry disagree.
"If we want to have the conversation about how to create solar manufacturers successfully in the United States than we are going to have to do a lot deeper dive than just slapping a tariff on it, and hope that it drives it," said Caleb Arthur.
"Most of our industry is based on the installation of solar panels, not the manufacturing. So while a solar panel tariff will create some manufacturing jobs in the few hundreds, there are tens of thousands of jobs that will be lost because of the increase in the cost of solar panels."
Sun Solar will not have to increase prices due to the supply of solar panels they acquired through a contract with a company in Canada.
Arthur says that smaller companies without the option of stocking up won't have a choice but to forward that cost upon the customer.
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