Solar Company CEO Says Import Tariffs Would Be Harmful

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The CEO of Gehrlicher Solar America Corp, Stefan Parhofer, said in an op-ed published by NJ.com that that the tariffs on imported solar energy panels proposed by some U.S. solar manufacturers would do more harm than good.

Parhofer’s company, an affiliate of a German solar group, has for the last nine months it has been in the U.S. invested $5 million in the country and generated 20 direct and 80 indirect jobs.

He says manufacturing provides less than 5 per cent of the solar industry’s jobs. “Ninety-five percent of solar jobs are in project development, planning, racking and inverter manufacturing, installation and other services,” he added.

Solar panels have seen their prices decrease by more than 50 percent over the last 18 months, which has increased solar energy production in New Jersey, where Gehrlicher is based, by nearly 100 per cent. The solar industry employs more than 100,000 Americans with a growth rate of 6.8 per cent, or almost 10 times the growth rate in the entire economy. A growth rate of 24 percent is projected for 2012.

“For every job that a tariff might protect in manufacturing panels, at least three jobs could be lost in the remaining 95 percent of the industry. Many of these jobs would be in New Jersey, which now has the nation’s second-largest market for solar energy systems, trailing only California,” added the CEO.

To read the full article, go here. Do you agree with Parhofer on this issue?

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

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Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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