Solar Power WorldSeptember 16, 2019835
The San Francisco-based solar energy developer is paying as much as 60% more for solar panels it’s using in the U.S., compared with cost of solar projects in other parts of the world, Smith said. The prices at which it can deliver electricity to utilities “could be lower without those tariff prices,” he said Friday in a phone interview.
And it’s not just the tariffs that were imposed on solar panels in 2018, he said. Duties on steel and solar power inverters are also boosting solar panel installation costs. All that has become a drag on the U.S. solar power industry, according to Smith. Lightsource is partly owned by BP Plc.
“There’s going to be 10,000, 12,000 megawatts of solar built in the U.S. in 2019,” he said. “It could have been more without those tariffs.”
Smith stressed that even with the tariffs, solar power is still an attractive, low-cost option for utilities and corporate buyers inking deals to buy it. “Solar energy is still being viewed in a lot of markets as the cheapest source of energy supply, and you win projects on that basis,” he said.
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