Trump's Tariffs Won't Break Bank for Homeowners Installing Solar

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s solar tariffs probably won’t be a deal breaker for homeowners considering rooftop panels.

The 30 percent duties on imported panels are only apt to increase the total cost of a typical residential rooftop system by about 3 percent, Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Hugh Bromley said. That’s because panels account for only about a quarter of the price of rooftop system. Other major costs include labor and marketing.

Nonetheless, the president’s announcement has sent some homeowners hunting for panels before duties kick in.

“It got kind of hysterical around here,” T.R. Ludwig, chief executive officer of Brooklyn Solarworks, said in an interview “A lot of people want to get in on the non-Trump-tariff panels.”

The Brooklyn-based installer in December locked in $250,000 worth of panels from South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc., which they’ll store in a warehouse until needed. Even with tariffs, panels can still help homeowners save money on energy, Ludwig said. It will just take a little long to recover cover the cost of the systems, he said.

“It means a payback that was four to six years now takes five to eight years,” Ludwig said. “On an asset that’s guaranteed for 25 years.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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