Elon Musk must be rubbing his hands with glee right now. All that work buddying up to President Trump is finally paying off. Solar panels imported into the USA will soon face a US$0.78 per watt tariff. The extra cost per watt will vary by project size – 40% for large-scale utility projects, 30% for commercial projects, and 20% for homeowners. If Elon Musk actually cared about the climate the last thing he would be doing is deliberately pushing Trump into protectionist policy that increases the price of solar panels!!
American domestic manufacturers haven’t been too competitive in the solar market lately. Imports rose by 51.6 percent between 2012 and 2016, while the value of those imports grew by 62.8 percent from $5.1 billion to $8.3 billion. U.S. producers domestic market share fell from 21.0 percent in 2012 to 11.0 percent in 2016. Solarcity, Musk’s new acquisition, was on the brink of failure before being bailed out by Tesla. This move confused us at the time — but now things are very clear. Protectionist policies were Elon’s plan all along.
To be fair the WTO lawsuit claims to to be driven by the demise of Sunivia and Solarworld. But Sunivia already declared bankruptcy and is 64% Chinese owned. Solarworld has had it’s share price nearly destroyed over the last 3 years. And the WTO petition was filed just this May 17th – way too late for Solarworld, but just in time for Solarcity and Tesla. How can we believe Elon’s ‘green image’ when his pocketbook is more important than getting cheap solar panels to Americans? Why are we punishing all American solar consumers to protect these noncompetitive companies?
El0n Musk – stop using your position on the President’s tech advisory council for crony capitalism. Especially when said crony capitalism is literally killing our planet.