Local solar businesses are in trouble

Layoffs and bankruptcies could sideline now struggling local companies.

The heavy burdens of the tariff has left many solar companies in crisis even before they think about whether to move factories back to the United States.

Stratenapex, a small local solar installation company, is also in trouble. Shan Patel, the founder said he had to cut half of his 72-worker installation crew because of a drop in business since the tariff was imposed.

“Three of my competitors went out of the business,” Patel said. “Two of companies that purchased from us stopped purchasing all together. Our company lost about 25 percent to 30percent of our business.”

Even though California just became the first state which requires new homes to install solar panels in 2020 following a vote by the Building Standards Commission, still, Patel said the action itself may not alleviate the crisis among the local business.

“The big contractors are installing the panels themselves or creating their own solar companies,” Patel said. “So independent companies like us aren’t greatly affected in terms of an increase in business.”

Solar businesses say the tariffs will also force them to increase the price of solar panels, products and installation. Some people may no longer be able to afford them.

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