That’s more than double the about $1bn in new spending plans announced by firms building or expanding U.S. solar panel factories to take advantage of the tax on imports.
The tariff’s bifurcated impact on the solar industry underscores how protectionist trade measures almost invariably hurt one or more domestic industries for every one they shield from foreign competition. Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, for instance, have hurt manufacturers of U.S. farm equipment made with steel, such as tractors and grain bins, along with the farmers buying them at higher prices.
White House officials did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump announced the tariff in January over protests from most of the solar industry that the move would chill one of America’s fastest-growing sectors.
Solar developers completed utility-scale installations costing a total of $6.8bn last year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Those investments were driven by U.S. tax incentives and the falling costs of imported panels, mostly from China, which together made solar power competitive with natural gas and coal.
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