The global solar industry keeps getting whipsawed by political curveballs this year. In January, President Donald Trump imposed a 30% tariff on imported solar equipment to support the nation’s domestic solar manufacturers. Since U.S. installers get about 80% of their supplies from overseas, the resulting 30% hike on module prices was a huge point of contention for the industry. Analysts predicted that billions of dollars’ worth of projects would have to be canceled.
More upheaval ensued mid-year when China decided to restrict its solar capacity installations for 2018. Anticipating an equipment glut, analysts quickly revised their models to reflect a 30-35% fall in module prices – a development that could help mitigate the impact of the Trump tariffs. Then this month, China filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the United States’ 30% solar tariffs. China claims that the import duties give an unfair competitive advantage to U.S. manufacturers, in violation of WTO rules, and damages “the legitimate rights and interests of China’s renewable energy companies.” All this drama has put pressure on the solar industry . . .