SunPower puts U.S. expansion on hold after Trump tariff move

SunPower puts U.S. expansion on hold after Trump tariff move

SunPower puts U.S. expansion on hold after Trump tariff move

Sungevity, a leading national designer and installer of residential and commercial solar systems, issued the below statement from CEO Frank Kneller, following President Trump's announcement to impose steep tariffs on imported solar modules.

The 30% tariff rate will impact all silicon-based solar imports, but SunPower could be hit more than others. Trying to protect two particular companies, both foreign-owned, while putting in jeopardy, will not foster growth of the renewable energy sector in the United States. Following his tweets, he reports that his company started to receive threats. The tariff, recommended by the bipartisan U.S. International Trade Commission, is created to help these companies compete for the domestic solar market. Many media outlets, citing economists and solar industry representatives, reported such a move would destroy thousands of jobs in the US and dramatically reduce the number of solar photovoltaic installations. In particular, many utilities and construction companies are anxious about the tariff because most of the panels they use are imported.

"We are really fortunate here in Washington that we have an incentive that (the government) will pay 50 percent of the solar system", Wilke said.

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SunPower Chief Executive Tom Werner says the company is going to put a $20 million USA factory expansion and hundreds of new jobs on hold.

"Trump's move isn't about protecting domestic manufacturing, it's about manufacturing an excuse to attack solar energy - to attack clean energy on behalf of big oil and big coal and their fossil fuel friends", he said, noting that the bulk of jobs available in America's solar industry - 137,000 - are related to panel installation. Competitors weren't willing to sell solar panels to customers and guarantee they would absorb any tariff, pushing developers to First Solar's tariff-free panels. This would lead to more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and higher electricity costs. There's a good chance it has a crippling effect, reducing our ability to modernize our electrical infrastructure and combat climate change. "The case for solar energy is just too strong to be held down for long".

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