Daily Management Review

Trump Tariff On Solar Panels Forces SunPower’s U.S. Expansion To Be Put On Hold


01/26/2018




Trump Tariff On Solar Panels Forces SunPower’s U.S. Expansion To Be Put On Hold
SunPower Corp wants its solar panels be exempted from the additional federal tariffs on imported solar panels that the Trump administration had imposed this week and has withheld its announced investment of $20 million in expansion plans for its U.S. factory as well as hundreds of new jobs until its demand is met.
 
While the aim of the imposition of additional tariff on imported solar panels is to protect the domestic industry from cheap imported panels, there are many in the solar industry who have claimed d that there would be loss of jobs in the installation end of the industry to the count of thousands as this would raise the costs on the overall for the industry.
 
The Trump administration announced a tax off 30 per cent on imported solar panels and San Jose, California, based SunPower is anticipated to be hit the most among the main players ii the industry as it manufactures most of its solar panels in Mexico, said Chief Executive Tom Werner in an interview.
 
“We make a different product that’s higher efficiency and that product costs more,” Werner said. “We pay a higher tariff despite the fact that it’s an American technology.”
 
SunPower claims that the technology that is used for its premium-priced panels should get an exemption form the new tariffs since the technology is not comparable to any of the technology that is typically put to use for the more traditional models off solar units that are manufactured by some of the other companies that have demanded the imposition of the tariffs – Suniva and SolarWorld. The premium-priced panels off the company are amongst the most efficient in the industry in terms of transforming of sunlight into electricity.
 
There were no product exemptions announced by the Trump administration in the announcement of the new tariffs. It would be by February 22 that the rules for requesting an exclusion would be announced by the U.S. Trade Representative. The new tariffs would be implementable from February 7.
 
“We have to stop the $20 million investment because the tariffs start before we know if we’re excluded,” Werner said. “It’s not hypothetical. These were positions that we were recruiting for that we are going to stop.”
 
Werner said that “hundreds” of jobs at SunPower facilities in California and Texas would be created by the proposed investment by the company. the jobs would be significant because they would be focused on the next-generation cell technology of the company and would include jobs in the research and development wing, manufacturing and sales divisions of the company.
 
A particular type of panels that are exempt from tariffs is produced by rival First Solar Inc, and SunPower’s project development arm has already lost business to it.
 
France’s Total SA is the majority stake holder at SunPower.
 
(Source:www.reuters.com)






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