Solar Companies Pay Up


 LYNDONVILLE - In an attempt to drive the American work-force, President Trump has imposed a 30 percent tariff on imported solar modules. This is a decision weighing heavily among the state, as Vermont possesses one of the most solar-dependent economies in the nation. According to Valley News, by 2016, one in 16 workers were employed by clean energy companies.

A Waterbury-based business currently working in the Northeast Kingdom is the Green Lantern Group. They are constructing the solar project on Commercial Lane in Lyndonville. According to Luke Shullenberger, the principle founder and managing partner for the firm, the tax may not be promoting businesses the way that the president had hoped. "This whole notion of this tariff protecting American jobs is maybe not exactly the whole entire truth of the matter. Perhaps, American manufacturers were not in a position to be successful, and serve the domestic solar industry anyways."

"It will certainly have an impact on the industry; it raises the cost of construction, it may impact the offers that companies like ours are able to make to our customers, and since it costs us more to construct the project, the economics of the project are lower. Therefore, the offers that we are able to make to customers like the college may change."

Since foreign solar modules are produced at such a high volume, many have been able to afford their own renewable-energy installations. For example, the student-conducted project at Lyndon State College, planned in part by Natural Sciences Professor, Ben Luce. Luce also disagrees with the President's decision, stating that he doesn't believe the situation was handled correctly. "I think the right way to do it would be to subsidize our own industry more, and incentivize our own industry more. That would be a proactive way to do it. This is kind of a negative form of correction that might have some good effects, but might have a general effect on the production of solar worldwide that might be negative."

It seems that time will tell the true impacts of the new solar tax; but the current consensus among industry professionals is unimpressed.

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