Why Maintain the U.S. Solar Industry?

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The energy policy in the United States has, until now, flourished by accepting all types of energy sources, including renewable energy. By using domestic resources for energy, we’ve generated a secure energy industry that also works to improve our nation’s security and support the national economy. However, a new policy proposed by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) seeks to apply regulations to imported goods relating to the solar industry.

As it currently stands, many U.S. solar companies import various parts from outside the United States, but complete and assemble the products here. However, a few international companies with facilities in the United States have argued that they are unable to compete in the market because these companies make their panels in the U.S. for more money.

The ITC, through prompting from the foreign solar companies, has suggested a number of different plans. Some suggestions call for tariffs and import quotas on solar parts, others ask that importers obtain licensing fees. Imposing these fees would raise the price of U.S. solar, harming local companies and potentially causing the loss of numerous U.S. jobs, which would harm the economy.

The practice employed by these U.S. solar companies is not something the economy is unfamiliar with. Numerous successful U.S. companies, including Ford or GM, have imported parts or components but continued to assemble their vehicles within the United States. In doing so, the products were less expensive, making them more attainable for a larger number of Americans, thus stimulating the economy. So, just because these foreign solar companies are unable to compete in the U.S. market, does that mean the U.S. companies should have to pay the price?

President Trump will review the proposals and make a decision by early January. While past presidents have rejected almost half of the ITC proposals, the current administration may go another route.

To learn more about the ITC proposals and how U.S. solar energy fits into the economy, visit forbes.com.

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