Under Trump’s Tariffs, The US Lost 20,000 Solar Energy Jobs

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Feb 24, 2019, 6:20 am, James Ellsmoor, Contributor for Forbes.

So 2016 was the best year on record for solar energy market in the United States. That’s from a report from the U.S. Department of Energy. This is at the time showed that solar energy was responsible for a much larger share of employment in the electric power sector (43%). That’s more than the whole of the fossil fuel industry combined (22%). With such robust numbers, it seemed as though solar energy, and renewables more broadly, were about to revolutionize the energy sector in the United States. Thereby lead the push towards cleaner energy and lower carbon emissions.

U.S. Solar Jobs by Year Chart of the National Solar Jobs Census 2018SOLARJOBSCENSUS.ORG
U.S. Solar Jobs by Year Chart of the National Solar Jobs Census 2018SOLARJOBSCENSUS.ORG

Trump Tariffs Challenge Growth

However, solar energy jobs stagnated. They have dipped for two consecutive years. All since the Department of Energy’s initial report, with a loss of 10,000 jobs in 2017. Then followed by a further 8,000 in 2018. More interestingly, although some job losses were foreseen as a result of project finalizations in several states, we know  Yes folks, the biggest contributing factor was President Trump’s tariffs on solar panels . The first shot fired in what would become a wide-ranging trade war with China in 2018, the U.S.’ decision to add a 30% tariff on foreign-produced solar panels had a negative effect on its domestic solar industry, which heavily relies on cheap imports.

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