President Donald Trump’s decision to impose a 30 percent tariff on all solar technology imports has claimed its first victims in the fast-growing solar energy job market.
The California-based company SunPower announced Friday that as a result of the tariffs, it will hold off on a $20 million plan to expand its operations in the U.S., including hiring hundreds of Americans.
“It’s not hypothetical,” CEO Tom Werner told Reuters. “These were positions that we were recruiting for that we are going to stop.”
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Two foreign-owned solar companies, Suniva and SolarWorld, lobbied for the tariffs, arguing that cheap imports from China have caused their panel prices to fall since 2016. But after it was announced earlier this week, Trump’s decision caused concern in the U.S. solar energy industry.
“While tariffs in this case will not create adequate cell or module manufacturing to meet U.S. demand, or keep foreign-owned Suniva and SolarWorld afloat, they will create a crisis in a part of our economy that has been thriving, which will ultimately cost tens of thousands of hard-working, blue-collar Americans their jobs,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president of the Solar Energy Industry Association.
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