Recent Tariffs on Solar PV Cell Imports: Impact on Idaho and Idahome Energy

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In a significant policy move, U.S. President Joe Biden has announced an increase in tariffs on a range of Chinese goods, including solar cells. This decision, aimed at protecting American manufacturing and reducing reliance on Chinese supply chains, will see tariffs on solar cells – whether assembled into modules or not – rise from 25% to 50% under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. This measure is intended to counteract China’s policy-driven overcapacity that has been suppressing global prices and stalling the development of solar manufacturing outside of China.

The Need for Increased Tariffs

On May 14, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced further action on Section 301 tariffs after her statutory four-year review, including a new focus on Chinese solar products. The 301 tariffs were initially implemented by the Trump administration in 2018 to address unfair Chinese practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation. Unlike Section 201, which requires specific petitions from companies, Section 301 allows the president to initiate tariffs with support from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

Broader Tariff Measures

The increased tariffs on solar cells are part of a broader strategy that also targets other Chinese goods:

  • Electric Vehicles: Increased up to 100% in 2024
  • Lithium-ion Non-EV Batteries: Increased to 25% in 2026
  • Steel and Aluminum Products: Increased to 25% in 2024
  • Semiconductors: Increased to 50% in 2025

These measures aim to encourage the development of domestic manufacturing capabilities and reduce the U.S. reliance on Chinese imports. According to the administration, China has specifically targeted solar products, lithium-ion batteries, and electric vehicles for export growth. These new tariffs are part of a broader effort to combat this strategic focus.

Supporting Domestic Manufacturing

In addition to the tariffs, the Biden administration plans to exclude machinery used in domestic solar panel production from these tariffs temporarily. This exclusion aims to support the U.S. solar manufacturing sector by making it easier to acquire the necessary equipment for domestic production. USTR will issue a Federal Register notice next week outlining the procedures for interested parties to comment on the proposed modifications and provide information about the exclusion process for machinery used in domestic manufacturing.

Mike Carr, executive director of the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America (SEMA) Coalition, welcomed the update, stating, “We’re glad to see the Biden administration take a step to strategically re-align 301 tariffs to help onshore U.S. solar manufacturing and support solar manufacturing workers. As America works to build out manufacturing in key clean energy supply chains to reduce the country’s reliance on China’s supply chains, we need to use every tool at our disposal to boost the U.S. solar manufacturing industry.”

Impacts of Tariffs on the U.S. Solar Industry

The increased tariffs could complicate the procurement of non-U.S. made solar capacity, highlighting the disparity between module production capacity and the upstream capacity to produce materials such as polysilicon. However, the administration views these tariffs as a strategic step to re-align Section 301 tariffs to support U.S. solar manufacturing and its workers.

The Biden administration’s policies, including the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, aim to improve U.S. economic competitiveness, innovation, and productivity through investment in U.S. production and technology in strategic sectors. The proposed tariff modifications complement these investments, signaling the administration’s commitment to strengthening domestic manufacturing capabilities.

solar cell
Local Idahome Energy Ground Mount Installation

Impact on Idahome Energy and Our Customers

At Idahome Energy, we want to reassure our customers that the solar panels we use are manufactured domestically in the United States of America, primarily in Jacksonville, Florida, and are therefore exempt from these newly announced tariffs. This ensures that our products remain competitively priced and unaffected by these trade measures, allowing us to continue providing high-quality, cost-effective solar solutions.

As a local Idaho company, we are dedicated to supporting our community by providing sustainable and affordable solar energy solutions. The recent tariffs are designed to create a more competitive environment for American-made solar panels, aligning with our mission to support U.S. manufacturing and the local economy.

Future Outlook of Solar Cell Manufacturing

The Biden administration’s decision to increase tariffs is part of a comprehensive effort to ensure fair competition and promote the growth of a robust domestic clean energy sector. By addressing the market imbalances caused by China’s trade practices, these measures aim to secure America’s economic security and lead in global solar innovation.


By staying informed and supporting local manufacturing, Idahome Energy continues to provide sustainable and affordable solar energy solutions to our Idaho community.

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