Avoiding Upcoming Solar Tariffs & Policy Changes

Avoiding Upcoming Solar Tariffs & Policy Changes

On May 15, 2024, the Biden administration announced significant changes to tariffs and policies, many of which will involve solar system components and materials. These measures are designed to encourage US manufacturing, but are expected to increase solar prices across the board.

As part of our mission towards bringing solar prices and commissions down, we’ve put together a breakdown of the upcoming changes to help you get the best price possible. 

What's Happening?

In the past few years, the solar industry has boomed, but lower pricing from overseas has meant domestic manufacturers aren’t ramping up to the US government’s target levels.

To combat high volumes of imports, steps are being taken to increase domestic manufacturing. These include changes to regulations and increases on tariffs: 

  1. Increased Tariffs for Select Goods. Plans have been announced to increase tariffs on semiconductors, solar cells, batteries, and more. 

  2. Removal of Bifacial Model Exclusion: Bifacial solar panels, which increase efficiency by capturing sunlight on both sides, were formerly exempt from tariffs in some cases. This exclusion is now being removed, meaning these panels will be subject to the same tariffs as other solar products. 

  3. End of the "Solar Bridge": In 2022, President Biden initiated a temporary, 24-month-long "Solar Bridge" to facilitate and expedite solar imports from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam duty-free while US domestic manufacturing ramped up.
    This bridge ended on June 6, 2024. To prevent stockpiling, the Solar Bridge regulation requires that duty-free imported solar panels must be installed within 180 days: a policy which Customs and Border Protection has said it will boldly enforce.

  4. Increased Quotas for Imported Solar Cell Manufacturing: To make sure domestic manufacturing is heading towards target levels, the tariff-rate quota for imported solar cells will be increased from 5 gigawatts to 7.5 gigawatts. 

These changes are expected to cause significant price increases on solar products, at least until the market stabilizes and US manufacturers increase their output. 



Key Deadlines

While there’s little that can be done to prevent these changes, it’s possible to largely avoid price increases by installing solar before many of these changes take effect. 

There are three scheduled tariff increases for solar-related goods:

August 1, 2024: First Tariff Increases Takes Effect

  • Main Concern: Tariffs on solar cells (whether or not assembled into modules) will double from 25% to 50%.
  • Other products affected include non-lithium-ion batteries, electric vehicles, facemasks, some critical minerals, steel/aluminum products, and medical supplies.

January 1, 2025: Second Phase of Increases

  • Main Concern: Tariffs on semiconductors–including silicon, which is used in solar panels–will double from 25% to 50%.
  • Other affected items include various tech components.

January 1, 2026: Third Phase

  • Main Concern: Tariffs on lithium-ion non-electric vehicle batteries will rise from 7.5% to 25%, which includes many popular solar batteries.
  • Additional products impacted are medical gloves, natural graphite, and permanent magnets.



The Good & The Bad: What This Means for You

As discussed previously, these changes are designed to boost domestic production, which will help to eventually improve the health of the solar industry in the US.

Unfortunately, the immediate consequence of raising tariffs will be higher prices for solar panels, solar batteries, and other system components. Some estimate that tariffs could inflate costs by 91 to 286%.

Even US-made product prices are likely to increase due to the tariffs on raw materials.

As the solar industry adapts to these changes, it's crucial to stay informed and plan accordingly. If you're considering investing in solar energy, now is the time to act: before the first round of tariff increases takes effect on August 1, 2024.

To get a no-hassle, low priced quote, check out Project Solar’s online calculator. 

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