Solar Installation - Putnam Sentinel

PUTNAM COUNTY — On Monday, Jan. 22, President Trump announced a 30 percent tariff on the import of solar panels. As with nearly every action taken by the president since his election, the announcement elicited not only mixed reactions, but, dependent on perspective, either high praise or immediate condemnation.

For American producers of solar panels, the tariff is a boon, creating the opportunity to compete with foreign manufacturers. The secondary market, however — those businesses selling and installing the alternative energy devices — will take a hit. The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that as many as 23,000 American jobs could be on the line in 2018 alone.

Dan Klear, owner of Superior Energy Solutions, expressed the opinion that the announcement is more afternoon shower than sun-obscuring tsunami.

“It definitely isn’t going to help my business,” Klear acknowledged. “It’s going to drive prices (on materials) up, but I don’t see it having a huge effect on the business, overall, at least not locally.”

By adjusting pricing on installations and other fungible areas, Klear reported it would certainly affect his profits, but limit the impact on prospective buyers to roughly five percent of current costs.

“A five percent increase in costs from current pricing will add maybe half a year to the payback,” Klear estimated. “A solar project is still a good project to do. Not only that, but it’s the right project to do.”