The New York Times has released a breaking story concerning the solar tariff extension the Biden Administration has now officially announced. The tariff impacts solar panels and other solar products, while exempting other products from the levies. These changes President Biden made to the tariffs seemed to upset some domestic producers.
For homeowners, making the switch from fossil fuel home energy to rooftop solar arrays can now be done with no upfront, out of pocket cost at all. If you qualify for zero down solar, you can even lower your monthly energy bills by half, or more, saving thousands, if not tens of thousands, over the life of the solar system, which is estimated to last roughly 30 years on average.
The report of the solar tariff extension out of Washington was really an extension of a Trump era program that saw the tariffs levied on imported solar products, seemingly to incentivize domestic production and consumption by the public at large.
Biden Reduces Scope of the Levies
The decision seems to signal President Biden’s desire to bolster U.S. based solar manufacturing while simultaneously ramping up the nation’s transition toward greener, cleaner energy, and becoming carbon neutral.
The imposed tariff will land somewhere between 14 and 15% for the next four years on imported crystalline silicon solar products that are used to convert sunlight to energy. The hope is to not only get homeowners to install solar panels made right here in the U.S.A., but also to create more environmentally friendly homes and neighborhoods, all while saving homeowners significant dollars off their energy bills each month by going solar.
For Biden and his team, they looked to double the amount of solar cells that can be imported into the U.S. without being imposed by the tariffs. The administration is currently negotiating with the governments of both Canada and Mexico in order to get them to export solar products into the country duty-free.
Bifacial Solar Panels Get Their Own Exemption
The two-sided solar panels known as bifacial panels will also be exempt from the tariffs. Ultimately, President Biden is hoping to continue the pace and scale of solar deployment to reach his climate goals and benchmarks.
The solar industry will still be able to access some foreign imports in order to cut costs, but the hope is this ultimately helps the individual homeowner. Many U.S. homeowners are looking to maximize rebates, incentives, and tax credits when they install solar panels, in order to get their rooftop arrays up and running with no upfront costs. Zero down solar looks like it may become even more widely available through 2022.
Domestic solar companies may not agree with the tariff extension, including some folks in the blue collar labor movement, many of whom want more protections put in place to safeguard them from cheap Chinese solar products.
Mark Widmar of First Solar Chimes In
As the chief executive of First Solar, a U.S. based solar panel manufacturer, Mark Widmar had some thoughts on President Biden’s tariff extension. He called the move “deeply disappointing,” arguing that the tariffs allow China to, as he put it, “outflank American efforts to grow self-reliant solar supply chains. Today’s decision places at risk billions of dollars in existing investment, thousands of jobs, our country’s energy security and a climate-critical transition to net-zero emissions.”
For solar companies installing solar with imported panels, the move to scale back the tariffs was a major win. Homeowners, at least at the moment, still look to gain from these moves, as many will continue to see monthly solar bills drop in half from what they were previously paying for electricity.
Some homeowners have even reported certain months where their solar energy bill came in at zero dollars, with others reporting months where the surplus energy generated by their solar systems actually got them credited back by the local power company.
George Hershman’s Thoughts on How This Affects Solar Homeowners
“Every dollar spent on tariffs means less dollars put towards creating jobs and opportunity in communities. The bifacial exclusion (alone) will help us greenlight projects and deploy more solar capacity across the country,” George Hershman was quoted as saying. Hershman is the chief executive of America’s largest utility-scale solar installer, SOLV Energy.
Aside from President Biden and his climate goals, the Federal Government is set to reduce their ITC, or Investment Tax Credit, for solar installations, down from 26% this year, to 22% in 2023. In 2024, the tax credit expires and vanishes entirely.
For this reason, among many others, the governments in all 50 states are encouraging homeowners to go solar this year, 2022, to ensure they have access to the largest solar savings possible, getting their rooftop solar arrays installed for zero down while cutting their monthly energy bills in half, if not more.
With simply no reason to hesitate, homeowners considering solar must seize the opportunity to maximize their solar rebates and incentives, increasing their property value with solar before the Fed’s solar tax credit disappears once and for all.