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US Judge Rejects Trump Tariffs on Imported Solar Panels
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US Judge Rejects Trump Tariffs on Imported Solar Panels


Controversial decisions made by the Trump administration are still being addressed. In November 2021, a US judge overturned tariffs imposed on imported solar panels by former president Donald Trump. The decision comes as a relief to the renewable energy sector, but some domestic manufacturers feel they may lose out.

Reversal of Trump’s Tariffs Could Benefit the Sector

In January of 2018, former US president, Donald Trump, imposed tariffs on a number of imported washing machines and solar panels. The steep tariffs aimed to give Whirlpool Corp a boost, although it also worked against the renewable energy sector as international companies found it harder to get their products into the US. The move to tax renewable imports coincided with a time when the solar energy industry was becoming cost-competitive with its non-renewable counterparts such as coal, an industry that was strongly supported by Trump.

For the first year, a 30% tariff was set on all imported solar panels and modules; this was due to hold until the fourth year when it was set to drop to 15%. The decision to overturn these tariffs was made by Judge Gary Katzmann of the US Court of International Trade, which received a mixed response. 


The tariffs were initially campaigned against by many groups, including the Solar Energy Industries Association, who predicted the tariffs would cause an industry crisis and potentially result in the loss of thousands of US jobs. The news of the tariff revoke undoubtedly comes as a relief to many in the renewable energy sector since goods will now be able to move into the US with much more freedom.

The US Falls behind in Terms of Renewable Energy

The US has previously been criticized for falling behind its peers in terms of the adoption of renewable energy. The figures support this notion. In 2020, renewable energy sources accounted for 19.8% of electricity generation in the US, whereas globally it accounted for 29%. Among its peers, the US is even further behind, with the UK, for example, obtaining 43.1% of its power from renewable energy in the same year.

With Trump’s solar panels tariffs overturned, the country has the opportunity to nourish its renewable energy sector, which will be an important step forward for the country, and the world, in terms of meeting climate change goals.

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