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Solar panels to pay for “the great wall of stupid”? It’s a wash!

23 January 2018

The United States (or its fickle president, at any rate) announced a 30% tariff on washing machines and solar panels.  While theoretically aimed at China, Mexico is a major producer of both products.    According to U.S. government date, in 2016 the United States imported 278 million dollars of Mexican washing machines, and 127 million dollars worth of solar panels.  Although in the U.S. media, this has been seen as an attempt to destroy or weaken the solar power industry in the U.S. … or a quixotic attempt to bolster the fossil fuel industry, it may also be the first shot in the often repeated “promise” by the sitting U.S. president to “make Mexico pay for the wall”.

Not that Mexico will… necessarily.  NAFTA rules still apply, and — as Mexican Secretary of the Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, has pointed out — the United States International Trade Commission has already ruled that Mexican washing machines are no threat to the U.S. economy.  For the simple reason, U.S. washing machines are made in Mexico anyway.  The solar panel ruling is also being challenged.

I can see an upside, if a stupid rule, by a stupid administration, stands. Electrical rates are going up here, and solar panels being redirected to the domestic market (at the lower domestic price) might not be a bad thing.  Not that solar panels would be installed everywhere, but that it would lower rates and mean less spending on natural gas imports from … you guessed it… the United States.

Oh, and maybe with the savings, we could buy more washing machines.  Nyah,nyah!  Sorry, no wall.

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