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Trump Signs 25% Steel and 10% Aluminum Tariffs—Racking and PV Mounting Price Increase Next

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Washington 3/9/2018 update: On Thursday afternoon, President Trump has dealt another potential blow to the renewables industry when he officially ordered tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. The Section 232 proclamation that will take effect in 15 days will slap a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% levy on imported aluminum.

Although Trump initially wanted to apply the tariffs worldwide, exceptions were given to Canada and Mexico for the time being. Opponents of the tariff hope exceptions could be made for other U.S. allies as well.

While some U.S. steel company representatives say these tariffs will stimulate job growth, numerous trade experts and members of the aluminum industry argue tariffs won't revitalize U.S. manufacturing and could harm other segments of the economy, such as clean energy, in the process.

1-3 Cents Project Price Increase

1 Year Aluminum Price Charts are already showing an increase from 0.88 USD/lb to 0.94 USD/lb. Experts are estimating a 1-3 cent price increase per watt for racking, tracking and mounting system prices.

Effect on Installers

“Since the new tariff follows in the aftermath of already tight margins created by the section 201 petition, solar installers are uncertain, expecting a direct impact on the cost of PV components such as racking, wiring, and ground mount posts” said Jack Meng, owner of nationwide solar distribution company, Fortune Energy.

In response to widespread concern among the solar community, PV racking manufacturer Dual Rack has fought to keep pricing stable to mitigate the effects of the tariff on the profit margins of solar installation companies.

A spokesperson for Dual Rack wrote, “We are bracing ourselves for the effects of the tariff, but our goal is to continue forward with the most competitive racking prices on the market this year.”

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