According to a new report by the Solar Foundation, the US solar industry has lost nearly 10,000, jobs in the past year, due to the slowdown in panel installations, which accounts for the largest share of jobs in the industry.
During his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump stated the US had “ended the war on beautiful clean coal”, highlighting the presidential shift away from renewables, which the industry says has had an effect on solar panel installations.
In January 2018, Trump imposed severe tariffs on imported solar panels in the first of several proposed trade restrictions, which the Solar Energy Industries Association believes will cost 23,000 existing and future jobs.
However, other industry experts say the fall in jobs is due to the decline in solar panel installations, which came as a result of the solar-investment tax credit that allowed taxpayers to remove 30% of their tax liabilities if it installed solar power.
The policy was due to expire in 2016, which mean vast numbers of companies rushed to make the most of the deal and therefore artificially inflated demand, meaning it looked like demand declined in 2017.
Varun Sivaram, who studies energy at the Council on Foreign Relations, said: “The annual installed solar capacity dropped substantially in 2017, and that was mostly because of the [solar tax credit] expiration,” he added: “It makes sense that jobs would have been lost, because installation jobs relate to how much is getting installed.”