With Trump As Decider, Solar Industry Braces For Possible Trade Barrier

KZZ (Temple, AZ) 

8/17/17

Before a solar project, Mark Holohan usually gives his customers plenty of time to mull over the cost — except lately that’s been difficult. 

“We have a sort of panic buying mode in the marketplace right now. Inventories have fallen. Availability has decreased. Prices have risen,” Holohan, the solar division manager at Wilson Electric, recounts over the clatter of machines and workers on the floor of a warehouse in Tempe.

“We used to have product sitting in warehouse that could be shipped in a shorter amount of time. Now we are waiting for another batch to be manufactured,” he said.

That means his company can’t hold a price too long because the math could change. Solar panels are flying off the shelves.

Holohan understands why other installers are in such a rush.

“There’s a threat of a very large price hike looming if the total request on the trade case is granted and so that makes life very difficult for us,” he said.

Others in the industry have been less measured when describing the possible fallout of the latest case in front of the International Trade Commission (ITC).

National trade group Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is calling the matter an “existential threat” that could almost immediately result in the loss of one-third of all solar jobs.

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