Solar tariffs could slow growth in Ohio, but one company sees upside

A federal tariff case that could raise the cost of most new solar panels is already casting a shadow on parts of Ohio’s solar energy industry — but could also create new opportunities for one of the state’s manufacturers. The case before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) could result in a tariff on imports of crystalline silicon solar cells. If adopted, it “would cut new projected solar projects by two-thirds,” reported Dan Whitten of the Solar Energy Industry Association at the Society of Environmental Journalists’ annual conference earlier this month. Melink Corporation in Cincinnati is already seeing impacts in the form of “increased module prices in anticipation that the tariff will get passed,” said company founder and CEO Steve Melink. “So manufacturers are adjusting prices.”

“The uncertainty is messing it up a bit,” said Dovetail Solar & Wind President Al Frasz in Cleveland.