Sun Solar in southwest Missouri’s Springfield is transitioning to using American made solar panels only.
After President Trump implemented tariffs impacting the cost of the products, Sun Solar will only buy panels made in the United States as a more cost-effective way of doing business.
Essentially, it means customers won’t have to worry about the cost of solar panels going up because now Sun Solar won’t have to compensate for the 30% tax increase on the products.
According to Sun Solar owner, Caleb Arthur, the idea of solar panels hasn’t caught on in the state of Missouri. He says less than 1% of the state uses them but stresses that the majority of those consumers reside in his southwest Missouri market.
“What’s exciting is that we have over 4,000 solar customers between homes and businesses and most of those are here in southwest Missouri so southwest Missouri has had some of the fastest growing solar installs in the entire Midwest,” says Arthur.
Moving forward, Sun Solar won’t be using foreign manufacturers for solar panels, but will instead work with a company in Bellingham, Washington. That state’s governor, Democrat Jay Inslee, is considering a run for President in 2020 positioned as a “climate” candidate.
Arthur thinks the American made product could contribute to more Missourians using solar panels. “Being in this area, being more conservative minded Americans, what we like to see is manufacturing comebacks, we like to see job creation and so this is going to be a big selling point for customers to be able to adopt solar and feel good about the products we’re putting on their roofs,” said Arthur.
According to Arthur, Sun Solar’s existing customers will also benefit from the company switching to U.S. made panels. If the power goes out on the grid, they’ll still be able to use the panel because of another American made product.
“Tesla Powerwall batteries are also made in the United States so now homeowners can say ‘I’m able to get my solar panels and my battery storage from U.S. manufacturers’, which has really never occurred before,” says Arthur.
Currently, Sun Solar is trying to persuade Springfield City Utilities to offer cash rebates as an incentive for customers to go solar, but the company isn’t doing so at this time.
President Trump’s tariffs on solar panels, although seen as an opportunity by Sun Solar, may have stifled some utility-scale developers. A report last June published by Reuters revealed U.S. companies have canceled or frozen $2.5 billion in large solar power installation projects due to the tariffs.
(Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV provided this report, Missourinet’s Jason Taylor contributed)