President Donald Trump has approved tariffs on imported solar cells, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced Monday.
The tariffs would initially kick in at a higher rate in the first year, then decrease in subsequent years. For the first year, a 30 percent tariff would be applied to imported solar modules and cells.
Lighthizer’s office said the trade representative made recommendations to the president based on the findings of the independent, bipartisan U.S. International Trade Commission.
The agency had been asked to look into whether foreign imports of solar cells/modules were causing “serious injury to domestic manufacturers.”
Both South Korea and China decried the Trump administration’s new tariffs: Seoul said it would file a complaint about the changes, and Beijing said the U.S. was deteriorating the global trade environment.
Below are the approved safeguard tariffs on solar modules and cells:
- Year 1: 30%
- Year 2: 25%
- Year 3: 20%
- Year 4: 15%
Only two days after the announcement, the Department of Energy released an article on its website detailing a $3 million prize competition to “reenergize innovation in U.S. solar manufacturing.”
The release goes on to say: “The American Made Solar Prize will incentivize the nation’s entrepreneurs to develop new processes and products that will reassert American leadership in the solar marketplace. This prize is in additional to total DOE funding of up to $400 million for solar projects and technologies in 2017. It will lower barriers American innovators face in reaching manufacturing scale by accelerating the cycles of learning, while helping to create partnerships that connect entrepreneurs to the private sector and the network of DOE’s national laboratories.”