On January 22, despite a heavily coordinated education campaign that involved a significant amount of on the ground lobbying, congressional intervention, grassroots advocacy, and communications, President Trump imposed a 30 percent tariff, with a four-year phase down to 15 percent, on solar cells and modules. NECA CEO John Grau released the following statement condemning the move.
NECA CEO John M. Grau makes statement on Solar Tariffs
The decision by the Trump Administration to impose a 30 percent tariff on imported solar cells and panels is a step backwards for one of the most promising sectors in the American economy. Solar energy provides good construction and manufacturing jobs and offers valuable products at a low cost to consumers. Unfortunately, this decision will have an immediate and negative impact on job creation in this sector. It also fails to recognize the indirect number of jobs created by solar manufacturing and installation and could put as many as 23,000 jobs at risk this year alone.
Growth in this sector has afforded electrical contractors everywhere with countless opportunities to successfully create jobs for electricians who install utility scale and roof top solar systems around the country. These are good, middle-class jobs that promote apprenticeship, community-based hiring, and veterans.
It is not the job of the federal government to pick winners and losers in how our nation’s energy portfolio will continue to evolve. This decision, however, will have a chilling effect on owners who are considering utilizing the many benefits solar provides and has put the U.S. solar supply chain at serious risk. Despite these challenges, the electrical construction industry will continue to innovate and provide solutions to power America’s energy and power needs.