Tough talk on tariffs on imported solar panels is creating confusion and turmoil in the U.S. solar industry. Big solar projects, such as utility scale solar, are especially concerned the Trump administration will seek trade protections from cheap solar imports, helping solar panel manufacturers but potentially hurting the rest of the industry.
Of the many promises Donald Trump made during the campaign, few resonated more than getting tough on trade and bringing manufacturing jobs back home. That promise gave one struggling solar company an idea: ask the President to tamp down on the glut of cheap solar panels coming from overseas. SolarWorld – one of the few U.S based manufacturers of solar panels – is using an obscure provision of trade law to try and impose a tariff on all panels made overseas. And the solar industry is freaking out. If approved, it could cost tens of thousands of jobs and bring installations to a halt.
The Chinese government has promised to remedy some of the consequences of burning coal. In a joint press conference with President Obama on Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a plan to put a country-wide price on carbon emissions, starting in 2017.
If fossil fuels continue to be the dominant fuel source around the world, then carbon capture technologies will need to be developed to reduce harmful carbon emissions. Many Chinese students have come to this country to learn the process.
Larry Baxter of Sustainable Energy Solutions, describes Cryogenic Carbon Capture as “the biggest, worst blizzard you’ve ever been in. CO2 flakes everywhere.” He says this technology could help stop climate change but is is nowhere near to becoming part of our energy landscape.
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the US and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting