If you believe the recent headlines in the mainstream media, the solar industry's version of a missile attack occurred a few days ago, when the Trump Administration announced it would impose a four-year schedule of tariffs on imported crystalline-silicon solar cells and modules imported from China. Industry observers immediately - and predictably - warned of financial and job-related devastation due to the higher prices levies would bring. However, as is often the case with dramatic developments, there's more to the story than initially meets the eye.
Yes, tariffs are here - starting with a 30% charge in 2018 and gradually declining to 15% by year four. So, it's fair to ask, now what?
First, if you're considering becoming a SolarMax customer, take a deep breath and R-E-L-A-X. Why? We happen to be sitting on a large stockpile of premium quality SMX mono and poly panels - all assembled and warehoused under our roof in Riverside.
When the news first broke well over a year ago that the possibility of tariffs could be imposed on foreign-made cells, SolarMax began building its panel inventory. We knew that by taking proactive measures we could help insulate our customers from price shocks that some companies would immediately experience in the wake of an adverse legislative ruling.
Second, the first 2.65GW of imported cells each year will be exempt from tariffs. That's enough to power 1.5 million homes. Or, if you want to use module volume, that's more than 12 million PV panels, according to Department of Energy numbers.
Third, a majority of industry experts agree that the most negative impact on solar will happen with utility scale projects located in low-density population areas - not residential neighborhoods. Industry think tanks like GTM Research predict that some 65% of the forecasted 7.65 GW of lost demand stemming from tariffs will be shouldered by companies doing large projects of this nature.
That's certainly not a cause for celebration. Any public policy decision that artificially slows consumer embrace of cleaner, less expensive energy runs counter to our core values and belief systems at SolarMax.
Unfortunately, the imposition of tariffs has created a cloud of confusion and anxiety for many stakeholders involved with solar. Our guidance: Don't let it affect you.
You can still go solar with SolarMax and lock in your savings for just $69 month - just as you could before all the drama unfolded. And your system comes with a 10-year power production guarantee as well as a 25-year warranty on panels, inverters and workmanship.
Think of it as the silver lining in the tariff cloud.