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Science and Innovations

ASU Expert: Tariff Places Pressure on Arizona’s Solar Industry

Melissa Sevigny

The Trump Administration has imposed a tariff on imported solar panel components. It’s meant to protect American businesses, but experts say it could hurt many, including Arizona’s solar industry. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports. 

The tariff starts at 30 percent and declines over the next four years.

Kris Mayes, energy policy expert at Arizona State University, says the tariff is bad news for Arizona, which employs eight to ten thousand people in solar-related jobs. Most of those jobs involve installation, not manufacturing.

"People in Flagstaff, people in Phoenix, people in Prescott, my hometown, who want to put solar on their systems are going to see their costs rise," Mayes says. "That will mean that fewer of them will want to put solar on their rooftops and that will mean fewer people will be employed overall in the solar industries."

The Solar Energy Industries Association predicts it will cause the loss of 23,000 jobs nationwide this year.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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