Shocker: Solar Panel Tariffs Are Killing The Solar Industry


“We wish Solyndra hadn’t gone bankrupt,” said President Obama back in March of this year in midst of the collapse of the heavily subsidized solar giant. “Part of the reason they did was because the Chinese were subsidizing their solar industry and flooding the market in ways that Solyndra couldn’t compete.”

Obama certainly meant that, because just months later his administration slapped a big, fat tariff on imports of Chinese solar products. How has that helped the solar industry here in America?

It hasn’t. It’s caused the cost of solar components to skyrocket, meaning the cost of implementing solar power has also skyrocketed:

Marco Mangelsdorf, who co-owns a company in Hawaii, ProVision Solar Inc., that designs and installs rooftop solar-panel systems, has been fuming since he received a tax bill in June from U.S. Customs, saying that he owed more than $138,000. That is 250% more than what he paid for a shipment of panels he received in February from a Chinese supplier.

The Obama administration lavished money on their green energy cronies, and the result has been failure after failure, mostly because solar power isn’t ready for prime time. It’s horribly expensive, even more so than wind power, and unreliable. But they tried to fix the problem with trade tariffs, and what that has done is drive up the cost of implementing solar power in applications where it might actually work.

If the Obama administration’s goal is the proliferation of solar power in America, they should be happy about the availability of cheap solar components in the market. That makes the cost of solar cheaper. But I don’t think that was really the Obama administration’s goal. I think their goal was lining the pockets of their cronies.

The best solution for this is the free market. If solar works, it will succeed. If it doesn’t, it won’t. The only time government needs to subsidize something is if it doesn’t work, or if the politicians want to make their friends rich.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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