The recent tariff decision on imported solar panels, which is intended to encourage domestic manufacturing of solar products, is shortsighted and disappointing, but this decision will not stop the popularity and growth of solar.
It is important to note that the 30% tariff is only for the solar panels, not the overall cost of the project. According to Greentech Media, panel costs are expected to increase between 10 to 12 cents a watt. Imported panel manufacturers have been accounting for price increases in anticipation of the tariff and may make some additional minor pricing adjustments now that the tariff has been approved. With the ever-declining cost of other solar components and decreases in the soft costs of projects, such as permitting, solar will remain a strong, viable and growing industry.
With the recent passage of the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) Illinois is in a unique position. In order to cost-effectively maintain a healthy solar market in the state, the programs developed as a result of this legislation will likely take into account the increased panel costs from these tariffs. FEJA ensures that Illinois will enjoy both significant solar development as well as employment opportunities for years to come.