New Tax on Solar Panel Imports to Impact Local Business
MERCEDES – A home in Mercedes is able to power itself completely when the sun is strong and sells off the remaining electricity to the power grid.
The local business owner who rents the property says he will be affected by new tariffs on the components that make up solar panels.
On Tuesday, the White House announced details of new fees on solar cells and other components. The change includes an immediate 30 percent markup on imported components from most countries.
Roughly years ago, Billy Schwarz got into the solar business.
"It's changed quite a bit over the years," said Schwarz, owner of High Tec Energy in Mercedes.
Showing off a small rental home Schwarz calls his 'test home,' he explained the price of solar equipment has decreased dramatically and prices became attainable for regular homeowners.
The industry has reached an important milestone, he said, where one watt equals roughly one dollar.
Now with the new tariff, Schwarz expects to be affected. He buys from a Chinese manufacturer. He expects costs will be passed to consumers.
"They're going to say 'I can't afford it anymore,'" said Schwarz.
He said the Chinese-supplied parts are cheaper and of better quality. As a matter of customer service and business sense, the tariff won't drive him to find an American manufacturer.
"All the education we did to the customer is doing to go down the drain," he said.
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