I thought it was interesting that the media latched on to the idea that the recent tariff would have a destructive effect on the solar industry in the US. For that to be true, the term "solar industry" must have shifted meaning overnight from companies such as First Solar that produce panels, to companies such as Tesla that install them. While there may be more jobs on the service side, do we really want to live in a country where we simply install technologies made elsewhere? I rather think it is our technology, our high paying jobs, and our domestic manufacturing that should be protected, if indeed there should be protections at all. Thoughts?
As usual, it's complicated. I think the overriding dynamic is the installation cost and return on investment. If the cost of the system, panels and installation goes up, the ROI goes down. Simple as that. If the payback is too long or the up-front capital requirement too high, fewer installations will happen; I personally think a lot fewer.The cynic in me sees it this way: solar has come down close enough to petroleum that it is cost competitive. If it is now less competitive, who will install? The net result is less solar and more petroleum. That is what this federal administration is clearly after. Climate change is a fiction; America will be a net energy exporter; open ANWAR and coastal drilling, etc. Bottom line is that it is not good for installers, it's not good for panel makers, whether they be domestic or foreign built.The only reason that I've hung onto FSLR after the recent share price jump is because of the new automated Michigan plant that they tell us brings panel costs below (pre-tarrif) foreign built panels. This is because the panels are built by robots...few employees. That is interesting and likely profitable, if true...but not great for employment. -Randy
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