Solar, Steel, and Aluminum Tariffs

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As we move further into 2018, the solar industry is beginning to see the effects of the tariffs imposed by our current administration. The 30% tariff on solar cells and modules will last for four years, and decrease by 5% annually, leaving a 15% tariff on solar imports in 2021. Although this sounds drastic, the percentage-based taxes will fall as the cost of producing solar panels abroad steadily decreases. Additional tariffs will have further impacts on the solar industry. A 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum will increase the costs of ground-mount and rooftop solar racking systems that utilize both steel and aluminum in their construction. These changes will require solar companies to restructure their pricing, as the industry relies on importing about 80% of the necessary materials. It is predicted that, in the first year, the tariffs will cost around $0.10 - $0.12 per watt, resulting in a 3% increase in the cost of a typical solar installation for homeowners. The increase in cost will fall each year as the tariffs decrease, leaving an increase of less than 2% of installation costs.