The 2018 Solar Tariff: Everything You Need to Know
On January 22, President Donald Trump signed off on a solar tariff on solar panels being imported into the United States. The tariff is 30% and will be applied to all solar panels made outside of the United States. We have received a lot of questions regarding how this solar tariff will affect Shine Solar and how it will affect our customers. Here are some of the questions that we have received this week.
How will the solar tariff affect current customers who have already had solar installed?
Great news! All of our customers who already have solar panels on their roof and are producing their own energy right now, will not be affected at all. This tariff is only on imported solar panels once the tariff comes into effect (read below).
When will the tariff come into effect?
The tariff will come into effect after 2.5 gigawatts have been imported. We believe this could take at least a couple months as 2.5 gigawatts is A LOT of energy. To put that into perspective, one gigawatt is equal to 4.6 million solar panels (with an average panel size being 295 watts). Or 2 gigawatts is equal to 200 million LED lightbulbs. Because the tariff takes effect after 2.5 gigawatts have been imported, we have some time before we will see the effects of this tariff. Additionally, consider the fact that there is already existing inventory sitting in warehouses all across the United States that needs to be exhausted before new inventory orders are processed.
After the first 2.5 gigawatts have been imported, the tariff will go down 5% for the next four years, until it will be at 15% in 2021.
How will the solar tariff affect prices for residential solar?
The solar tariff will be absorbed little by little at each stage along the solar lifecycle, from the manufacturer to resellers us at Shine Solar to you, the customer. This breaks up the 30% to make it more manageable for each organization. With the tariff being eaten up bit by bit, this leaves our customers with an estimated 3-4% increase in price on their solar panels.
This may sound scary at first. But when you compare that small increase with how much solar prices have gone down in the last five years (or even just in the last year), solar is still more affordable than it was a year ago, even with the solar tariff. In the last five years, solar prices have gone down by 55% as technology has developed and become more efficient. This is one of the reasons why the solar industry is booming right now. This is also why we aren’t too concerned about this new solar tariff.
Are there companies in the United States that manufacture solar panels?
Yes, there are domestic companies that manufacture solar panels. However, we have found that the products are not up to standard or as efficient as the imported solar panels. This tariff can be a great opportunity for those domestic companies to work to further improve their products. This will also be a great opportunity for more solar panel manufactures to get started here in the United States. Despite the challenges that will come from this tariff, we are excited to see the changes that will happen in our industry because of it.
If you have more questions about the solar tariff, please feel free to contact us. We are happy to answer your questions.
Are you a procrastinator? Don’t lie. We’re onto you. We are you. Are you the type that hopes for a last-second study guide so that you can cram information in that makes you sound like you did your homework? It’s okay. We all do it. In fact, did you know that the human brain is programmed to procrastinate?
Feel better now? Good. Because we have to talk about something that’s about to go down for real…the solar eclipse. If you haven’t brushed up on your eclipsery, great news! We’re going to give you a brief rundown (because that’s the best kind) guide just in time for the event. Here, then, are three things you need to know before the big event.
Because it’s a big deal! This is the first solar eclipse to hit the continental United States since 1979. It’s the first to run across the entire country since…wait for it…1918. It will be the only one of its kind most of us will see in our lifetimes.
How can I watch it?
That’s a little trickier. The short and most important answer is “safely.” But after Amazon’s recall of not-so-safe glasses, how do you know what to look for? Let’s go to the experts on this one. NASA website’s solar eclipse section offers a wealth of information about the event. Check their safety tips here.
Beyond safety, though, is the question of visibility. The Path of Totality, or area in which spectators can see the full splendor of the eclipse, is mapped out here. The Path stretches from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina, and is a relatively narrow strip about 70 miles wide. For our Missouri friends within the Path, the eclipse is set to hit Jefferson City at 11:46 a.m., with totality beginning at 1:13 p.m. and ending at 1:15. Arkansas falls outside of The Path of Totality, but regardless of your location, check viewing events for more precise information.
So grab your glasses (but leave your homemade viewing devices at home), and follow The Path. But even if you can’t, fear not. Current technology, coupled with the coast-to-coast viewing swath, guarantees that we will all be able to view the full beauty in its entirety.
At Shine Solar, we like to take an educational approach in everything we provide. We’re not into scare tactics, and we’re not into becoming a huge company. Not one of us has any desire to browbeat people into going solar RIGHT NOW.
What we are into is making sure people understand exactly THEY’RE what getting into. We want them to make an informed decision based upon facts. So, we provide the facts in our free solar analyses. We provide the facts in our blog series. And we provide more facts in our monthly Solar Insider newsletter. All of this is aimed at educating you, the reader (and maybe having a little contest fun along the way) about all things solar. That way, you can make the choice whether to move forward on the path to energy ownership.
But we also knew that we had to back up our educational approach with a solid go-to for people to access that contained, well, everything. The answer was a complete website overhaul that included something for everyone. We have a Frequently Asked Questions page with both written and video content. There is a blog library. Testimonials and real-time reviews from our customers? Check. We also have a little bit about who we are and how seriously we all take our jobs by following our own Shine Solar Code of Ethics. There is a live chat feature, in case you needed answers to your questions now.
The bottom line is, we’re here for you. We know the type of company we want to deal with as a customer. Preferably, to deal with people who answer our questions, who listen to our concerns. And who, should we decide to move forward and go solar, would be there for us years down the road.
We poured all of those wants and needs into our new website, and we hope that, in so doing, we are able to help with any questions or concerns you may have.
So go ahead and check it out. Take your time and look it over for yourself. If you feel that we should include something else, reach out to us. Let us know what we’re missing, or what you think we could enhance. The bottom line is, we’re here for you. And we’re here because of you.
Thanks for hanging with us on this journey. And, as always, keep shining.
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed after a storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl stopped and considered this. And then she bent down, picked up another one, and threw it in before looking at the man and replying, “I made a difference to that one.”
The man looked at the little girl. Then, he joined her. The other onlookers soon followed, and all the starfish were saved.
Saving the world, particularly in a time when we’re fully realizing the potential impacts of climate change, seems an overwhelming task at best. What each of us must remember, however, is that we can only control…ourselves.
We here at Shine Solar aren’t trying to take on the insurmountable task of saving the world. As with the little girl and the starfish, we’re trying to make a difference one at a time.
You don’t have to go big or go home, either. As homage to Earth Day, and in keeping with our “green” company ideology, we thought we’d offer a few ways to save your own hypothetical starfish:
Be mindful of your drive time. We all have things to do, and emergency trips here and there pop up all the time. Try taking a week and making note of all of the driving you do. When you’re really focusing on something, it’s easy to realize what is necessary versus what isn’t. Less time on the road = less emissions.
Be mindful of your intentional energy usage. While raising your thermostat temperature in the summer and lowering it in the winter can give you immediate discomfort, wait it out. The human body is amazing, and the ways it can adapt even more so. There are so many populations that don’t know the luxury of forced heat and air. Even a tiny change adds up over time. Another small change heavy hitter occurs when you replace traditional bulbs with LED counterparts. LED lights don’t put out heat, and they last far, far longer. Even one bulb at a time makes a difference.
Be mindful of your unintentional energy usage. It’s one thing to know that you shouldn’t keep things plugged in all the time when it doesn’t make sense to do so (phone and computer chargers come to mind here), but how many of us do it anyway? If there is no reason to have it plugged in, don’t do it!
Be mindful of your garbage. It’s easy to throw everything we don’t want into a bin and forget about it until trash day. But how much of that is necessary? Save and reuse plastic bags, or donate them to centers that repurpose them for good (sleeping bag liners for the homeless are made of plastic bags, and those donations are ALWAYS needed and welcome for affiliated volunteers and nonprofits). Compost your leftover food, or “donate” it (BIRDS LOVE BREAD. Trust us on this). Slight reductions still add up to big differences over time!
CELEBRATE EARTH DAY! Find a celebration near you. Venture outside of your comfort zone, and learn about this planet that has been so amazing to all of us.
If you have any questions about how you can reduce your carbon footprint, contact us at 844-80-SHINE, or visit us at www.shinesolar.com.
On February 10, we observe National Cream Cheese Brownie Day. This day was obviously created for those who find cream cheese and chocolate irresistible, but it also marks Shine Solar’s 1st year anniversary! Our company was founded on February 10, 2016 by Caleb Gorden, Nick Gorden and Ethan Willis. It’s developed over the course of the last year to become Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri’s number one rooftop solar provider.
From our first two employees working remotely in offices located in Idaho and Florida, we’ve grown to a company of approximately 30 employees and still expanding. As of February 10, we’ve connected 75 solar systems, have installations in 3 different states (Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma), and have deployed 741.18 KWs worth of solar panel systems.
We’ve grown partly because we are able to offer clean energy that’s available to customers at a lower cost than what they pay for traditional, fossil fuel sourced energy. Simply put: We give customers a cleaner, more affordable alternative to their current electric bill. But we’ve also grown because you believe in us, and have helped to support our mission. To our customers, employees, investors, and supporters everywhere, we offer an honest and heartfelt “Thank You.”