Trump’s Tariffs At Work: Solar Company Plans New Factory In Georgia

REUTERS/Natalie Behring

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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A foreign solar panel company is building a manufacturing facility in the U.S., marking the latest boost in the industry since President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on imported solar equipment.

The White House’s recently enacted tariffs on solar panels appears to be working. Hanwha Q Cells Korea Corporation — a Korea-based manufacturer of photovoltaic materials — will be opening a facility in Georgia, slated to be up and running by 2019, the company announced Thursday. The move will allow the company to produce and sell panels to U.S. customers without having to deal with import penalties.

“The new manufacturing fab is testament to Hanwha Q Cells Korea’s commitment to the U.S. market, in spite of the recently imposed trade barriers,” read a press release from the company. (RELATED: Tariffs And Tax Cuts Actually Helping Solar Industry — Trump Critics Stumped)

Hanwha’s announcement came about four months after the White House imposed tariffs on imported solar cells and modules. While Trump has been characterized as a foe of renewable energy, many companies in the industry appear to be benefiting from his tariff and tax cut policies. In April, First Solar announced it was building a 1.2 gigawatt module facility in Ohio. A week beforehand, SunPower, another U.S manufacturer of solar panels, announced it was acquiring a German-owned solar panel manufacturer.

MJ Shiao, global lead for emerging technologies and renewables at Wood Mackenzie, said Trump’s tariffs appear to be driving U.S.-based solar production. Hanwha’s decision “is certainly a result of tariffs — and Section 201 seems to be the catalyst,” Shiao wrote, according to Greentech Media. However, the renewables expert stopped short of saying such a policy would trigger an American solar manufacturing renaissance.

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