Solar company puts hold on $20M US investment following new tariff


U.S.-based solar energy company SunPower announced it’s putting a hold on a $20 million plan to expand factories and create hundreds of new jobs in the U.S. until it can guarantee an exclusion from the new federal solar technology tariff, according to Reuters.

SunPower’s decision to halt its growth in California and Texas follows President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: If there’s no wall, there’s no DACA fix Trump appears to call out Samsung over missing FBI text messages Trump Commerce pick told lawmakers he would look at reversing Obama move on internet oversight: report MORE ‘s announcement Monday that a 30 percent tariff would be placed on all imported solar technologies.

The administration said the decision would protect American manufacturing jobs but some solar companies, like SunPower, argued that it will hurt their bottom line and result in fewer jobs in the industry.

The tariff was seen as a major blow for America’s $28 billion solar industry, which gets about 80 percent of its solar panel products from imports.

While SunPower is based in San Jose, Calif., the majority of its solar technologies are manufactured in the Philippines and Mexico.

“We have to stop the $20 million investment because the tariffs start before we know if we’re excluded,” SunPower’s Chief Executive Tom Werner, told Reuters. “It’s not hypothetical. These were positions that we were recruiting for that we are going to stop.”

The tariff goes into effect on February 7, however, the U.S. Trade Representative will not announce the rules for requesting an exclusion until Feb. 22.