Trump has imposed a tariff against imports of monocrystalline solar panels of 30%, about half of what the US manufacturers requested. The US manufacturer Suniva, and German held SolarWorld make polycrystalline solar cells, with about 15% efficiency. The monocrystalline one have about 20% efficiency.
In detail, the tariff is 10 cents to 15 cents per Watt for the first year, of a 30% tariff. It then decreases by years to 25%, 20%, and, in 2022, ends at 15%. The tariffs are only short term restrictions, and end after four years.As bad as 30% sounds, the average installed cost of rooftop solar is $3.17 per Watt. So it only adds 5% to the cost of a rooftop solar system, even for the first year.
Utility scale solar is about half the cost in the long run. It is expected to discourage 9% of the investment in utility scale solar. I hope this is not the case, since in California and other states, there are definite goals set for renewable energy sources. The slow price decline might not cause utilities to wait for years to install desired systems. There is also the movement of Secretary of the Interior Zinke and Trump to make federal lands more easily open for energy facilities. The estimate is that utility scale solar installations may decline by 9%.
Here is a link to an industry article on this.
In early 2017, there were 260,000 workers in solar, of which 14% or 38,000 were in manufacturing. The new tariff may not be enough to save the manufacturing companies, in which case the tariff will just cost a lot of installation jobs. California had 100,000 solar workers. The estimate is that 23,000 jobs could be lost from the total number.
California’s goal is for 50% renewables for 2030, but it looks like utilities may reach this goal by 2020. In that case, there may be a push for 50% by 2026, 60% by 2030, and 100% by 2045. Considering the weather dependent and fluctuating nature of renewables, experts consider the 100% goal unlikely.
San Diego Gas and Electric is up to 43% renewables, about half way between the 2020 goal of 33%, and the 2030 goal of 50%. SC Edison is at 28% renewables. PG&E is at 33%. California as a whole is at 25% renewables, but with 9% nuclear and 10% hydro, has 44% clean energy. California’s emissions per kWh for electricity is about half that of the US average.