It is agreed that this Trump tariff is a setback for solar energy. However, here's the math. Rooftop solar panels cost $1,000/kilowatt for panels; the rooftop balance of system (everything that is not a panel: wiring, labor to install, etc.) costs about $1,700; total cost is then $2,700/kW.

The new Trump 30% tariff is only on the panels, not the balance of system. Hence $1000 X .3 = $300. $300 plus $2,700 current price leads to a $3,000 increased price.

Solar rooftop is already much cheaper than grid, with net metering. It will remain much cheaper even with this temporary boost in price to $3,000/kW. Prices have been coming down at 7% per year for rooftop. At this rate, the price of solar will drop to below the current cost by the end of next year.

Hence, the impact of this tariff will be minimal. Putting a tariff on solar is wrong-headed, but solar energy will remain the cheapest energy source for Tucsonans, even with this tariff.

Russell Lowes


Disclaimer: As submitted to the Arizona Daily Star.


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