There’s a reason it’s called the solar coaster. And while we’ve had a number of difficult years over the past decade, 2018 took the cake for pure drama. But against all of that the slings and arrows that it has suffered, the solar industry has shown remarkable resilience, and is coming out of 2018 not only swinging, but stronger than ever.
So today we’re taking a moment to reflect on what we’ve come through, with our list of our top stories from 2018.
1) Tariffs, and rumors of tariffs
A year ago there was one big story that overshadowed everything in the U.S. solar market: pending tariffs on imported PV cells and modules under the Section 201 process. And while SEIA, SunPower and much of the global solar manufacturing sector threw everything they had at trying to stop the runaway train of the Trump Administration’s economic nationalism, in the end things were not nearly as bad as they could have been.
The 30% tariffs which were imposed on cells & modules were lower than the worst-case scenario. Additionally, while it took seven months, SunPower managed to gain an exemption from these tariffs for its back-contact technology, which is believed to be a quid pro quo for its buying SolarWorld America’s Oregon factory and promising to start U.S. manufacturing. [click for full article]