Breaking News: Good-bye "Affordable" Solar Panels

solar panelsI suppose there's a little something wrong with calling the present solar panels on the market "affordable" but by comparison to what's on the horizon, they will look like dollar store deals.

This morning I received an e-mail from one of my readers. She had forwarded an e-mail to me which she had received. The e-mail is from a company that I'm familiar with, In the e-mail the company explains that even though they placed an order from China for solar panels LONG before the May 20th Tariff, they would be subjected to a new tariff which amounts to over 249 percent! No, that's not a typo. Two-hundred and forty nine point ninety-eight percent to be exact. Their order was $18,000 but the tariff would add an EXTRA $44,000 to the bill and as such, they are unable to pick up their solar panels from the Los Angeles Port.

Unfortunately, I have to agree with other voices chiming in on the subject--this IS just the tip of the iceberg. There have been numerous actions as of late by this administration which have been nothing short of hostile towards the small businesses of this nation AND the self-reliance movement that is taking hold in more and more households. Making solar panels cost prohibitive, when they are becoming easier and cheaper to make, is indeed a hostile move in my opinion.

solar panelsAnother reader shared this article with me which reveals in unmistakable terms that China and Japan are now trading currencies with each other. Of COURSE they are; there's no reason why China would invest any more in the plummeting dollar. And though there are some differences between the two cultures, it makes perfect sense that they would look out for each others' financial well-being, seeing as they are the top two holders of foreign U.S. debt amounting in the trillions and trillions of dollars.

solar panelsThis also indicates that Japan and China are no longer recognizing the Petrol Treaty, which means they will no longer pay for oil using U.S. Dollars. In case you weren't aware, it was because of this treaty that the U.S. has behaved in such a cavalier manner over the years regarding holding on to any gold that backed the U.S. Dollar. They thought they had something better than gold--oil. By getting all of the OPEC nations to agree to pay for oil with U.S. dollars they essentially were ensuring that the dollar would always have value. But, as many people have had to learn the hard way, a contract is only as good as the people who sign it. The treaty only strengthened the dollar so long as everyone was willing to use U.S. Dollars to pay for fuel. As soon as anyone breaks the line, then the entire agreement crumbles and Russia and China have been cracking that treaty since December 2010 with their announcement to the world that they were going to start exchanging currencies as well.

Solar Panels affected?

There's much more to be explored with regard to the crumbling of our global market in ways that have NEVER happened before in our history, but for now we'll go back to focusing on the letter from the solar panel company. I've printed it here without any editing in its entirety. I hope that it's obvious that if any of you were planning on purchasing solar panels, you might want to do it NOW with stock that's already in store because I suspect that very soon you'll see solar panels as difficult to find (and afford) as Tickle Me Elmo in Christmas 1996.

Solar Panels Stock

From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 10:44 AM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Solar Penny - Hareon Stock

Hello All to all of our loyal customers.

This email is written in the deepest sadness.

Regrettably we will not be receiving any future stock of Hareon Solar Panels.  We where expecting 50 watt and 100 watt panels.  The department of commerce applied a tariff structure on solar panels imported from China.  Although our order was placed long before this decision on May 20th the tariff was applied to this order.

Since we cannot afford the 249.98% tariff on our order we will not be able to retrieve it from the Los Angeles Port.

To give you an insight our incoming order was in the tune of $18,000 in merchandise.  Thus the tariff alone totals $44,820.00.  At this sum as a small business we could never come up with that much money for the tariff.

After seven great years my business has hit a brick wall.  I feel like I have been pushed off a cliff.

At this time we do not know the future of Solar Penny.  We will be closing our warehouse within the next week thus only leaving our retail store.

Thank you to all of those who have purchased panels and equipment from us over the past seven years.

Aaron Flygare

Sales & Technical Support

[email protected]
Solar Penny
6247 East Main Street Suite 5

Mesa, AZ 85205
P: 480-374-3230

F: 888-416-0944



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I am glad there is an option, but, we should be buying AMERICAN made panels anyway!!!!! We did!!!! They are wonderful!!!! Of course, others will raise their prices because of this tariff now too, don't you know??

so true. be american, buy american. the job you save might just be your own.

Keep in mind that even companies who make solar products in the US must also purchase raw materials, and often manufacturing, from all over the globe. In particular, China. Why China? Because China is the world's largest producer of rare earth metals, controlling 97% of the world's supply. (Yes, they have been very smart these past few years. We haven't.) These rare earth metals are critically necessary for the manufacture of all kinds of technology - everything from solar panels to computers - pretty much anything requiring a circuit board. They have also been smart enough to buy a lot of silver - another necessary raw material.

We Americans need to understand that just like the manufacture of Toyotas, often the businesses affected by these tariffs, supply problems, or overseas events ARE local. Get your heads around the fact that while some people may still be trying to paint this issue as one of flag-waving American patriotism, the plain fact is that we lost that war decades ago. We live in a global market, period, and have lived in one, for a very long time now, no matter what the television tells you.

This time IS different. We have seen countries melt down financially many many times throughout history. We have never seen the entire world economy melt down all at once. This is what is happening, and every sovereign nation is scrambling for a life boat right now. One of the best ways to help yourself understand what we are up against here is to read the book Currency Wars, by James Rickards. It is eye-opening to say the least.

Are you dem how else will the US bring back the factorys . China product $1.00 same US product $10.00 which will you buy will I gess I do not need to ask that question

Perhaps it's time to buy American. Seems everyone wants to buy everything for next to nothing, (read, WalMart) for clothing, appliances, electronics, that most of our larger American companies left here to go overseas, (China, South America, India, etc.) so they wouldn't have to pay a living wage to Americans. NOW we're angry? Just sayin'.....

Read the chapter on China in Dick Morris' book "Screwed". It is truly eye opening. And this administration is doing nothing to combat the situation.

Thanks for the head's up on the May 20 tariff. I have been dragging my feet in ordering more solar panels for a homespun system to generate electricity off a 60 watt solar panal and a 12 volt deep cell battery. It works well and I wanted to make a back up. I'm sure once the word of this new "tax" gets out the shelves will be bare. The article on DW was also informative and a new site to keep abreast. China has been using backdoor currency deals with Russia for oil. It comes as no surprise that Japan is doing what they can to stay afloat, creating it's own trade agreements with China. Say adios the the US$'s closer than you think.

In addition to Solar Pannels and tariff, here in AZ the electric company APS will begin to charge a person who puts pannels on their home a servcie charge each month. Now they say it is b/c they off a rebate if you solar pannel your house that they give you. If you already have the pannels before said charge takes place they won't charge you. In other words you are grandfathered. But, they want to be able to continue to give the rebate to new customers that go solar. Now, I am sorry, but if I am going to go through the expense to solar pannel my home, that is going to create the company with electricity why do I need to be charged to make them money? It just is getting old all this fee and taxes and fees. Grrrrrrrrrr is all I can say and off to prepping I go.

That makes no sense at all by law power companies are required to use green energy first. Thus they have to use the green energy of the solar panels first, not charge for them. That makes absolutely no sense to me. Weird.

And wasn't it on the news last night that this administration is soooooooooo desperate Biden told a graduating class last night that they are working on EVERYONE being able to have solar panels in the future and if they are re-elected there will even be a cure for cancer!

I'm sorry, why is this news to anyone? Kalleen, your posting of this is only hitting the nail on the head as they say. However, I knew that this administration would do something like this back in 2008 before they were elected along with everything else on their list, so I am sorry to say, this is not news to me but part of the program to turn this country into a socialists state, (more than it already is). Folks, it is coming faster than you think you are prepared for pay attention, this is only one of the tips. Also news to some people is that our very own car companies make super duper gas savers but are not allowed to sell them in the USA because the taxes on the gas they use is for road repair and the EPA found something they did not like about them, however, Europe is able to enjoy these cars with very high gas mileage. It's time to connect the dots and wake up and break the mesmerism.

Thanks for the lheads upl. Solar pannels were way down on my list of things to buy, but now they are at the top.

This is heart breaking. More to follow on other items we get from China (just about everything). Thank you for posting, this just hardens my resolve to go Off off-grid, in other words, to be off electricity as much as possible, solar or otherwise.
Kellene, can you do a post about how difficult it will be to transition to a pre-electric lifestyle? I know the Amish and other Anabaptist groups live that way, but we are so far removed from that type of it possible...?

I think I've written a couple of articles that address that. And frankly, all of my "worst case scenarios" in my head assume no electricity. I'll have to check the article inventory and see what I can do.

Yes, it is possible. I am 70 yrs old and, 2 yrs ago, was forced into a situation not of my choosing to leave my home and retire (as a Reg. Nurse) some months before I had planned to. I could not afford to go anywhere other than to a small cabin my son built for me on his land in a very remote setting. I have no power other than a small solar system and I have learned to live with it quite nicely! If we have no sun for a week, it gets touchy but , even then, I have learned how to deal with it and do fine. My bigger fear is the threat of ....I forget the term they use for it.....but where all our electronic systems will be wiped out. (electro-magnetic something-or-other?) In that case, I suppose we'd figure out how to cope but, I can't imagine not having my solar power! Guess you're never to old to learn and deal with whatever!

Goal 0 (zero) states that they are avoiding that import fee by how they import panels and from exactly where. They are at the 24% level, not the 250% level.

Well, I hope you're not going the Goal Zero route, regardless. Their product is seriously inferior to the Humless product.

These are the kind of things we learn when we tune out "gov't" controlled programing. China owns us and they know it. It is coming down to the need to prepare ourselves and our families for a time when the American dollar will be meaningless. Thank you for sharing this information with everyone.

I think that too many people forget the catch 22 that China is in. Sure it's easy to say that China owns us, but China also NEEDS us to be profitable. Their most recent actions is a little too late frankly as they are so heavily invested in the U.S. currency. They could indeed dump it all into our economy making our dollars undeniably useless overnight, but it would be a very painful economic pill for them to swallow as well since they are so heavily invested.

This information does not appear to be accurate.

Yes the prices may be going up due to trade deputes currently being fought but it is not going up 249% as mentioned in the email (I believe that was the original tariff for companies/ counties "dumping" products but that was challenged).

"This dispute began with a complaint from the U.S. unit of a German company, Solar World AG, which was joined by other firms. Commerce officials later concluded the Chinese were “dumping” government-subsidized products, or selling below cost."

I believe it is now something like a 13.5% tariff with a sliding scale (based on a number of factors).

My company is a member of The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE). I am not directly involved with the solar side but we install multi-megawatt systems. if you want more information CASE is well aware of what is going on and is keeping their members informed.

Then I would have a tough time accepting the credibility of our company. I spoke to THREE CEOs before posting this article AND looked up the tariff guidelines directly. The tariff is confirmed as being between 30% - 240% depending on which list a company is on. If you're not aware of it yet, then you certainly will be.

This article is rife with half-truths and innuendo. The FTC ruling came out a few weeks ago and the panel prices on average have only gone up maybe 10%. Here's why: those companies affected by the tariff should be able to get around the tariff by moving part of their assembly offshore which should cost them about 10%-20% in terms of module cost. In fact 90% of the Chinese panel imports were subject to a 30% tariff ... the 249% tariff was levied against those very few who did not supply the FTC the documents needed to make it's decision. With the free-fall in module prices we were seeing this is only setting back prices to what they were a few months ago. Manufacturing inefficiencies continue to improve and costs will continue to drop, but not at the expense of our manufacturing future. I'm not a big fan of Pres. Obama (will not be voting for him in November), but this was the right move.

To be blunt, you are just plain wrong. Do a little bit more research and you MIGHT have done an enth of what I did before posting this article.

The tariff will specifically affect these types of businesses at a minimum of 30% and the maximum impact is supposed to be 240%. (I don't know how this particular owner got to 249%, but I didn't do his math for him) Even your statement "the 249% tariff was levied against those very few who did not supply the FTC the documents needed to make it’s decision" STILL amounts to a tariff regardless of the superimposed reasoning. Its end result was STILL to close down at least one business and we all know that's the tip of the iceberg.

This week I've been on the phone with CEO's of 3 large businesses that will be affected by this and are very nervous about it. It's absolutely unprecedented to have a key portion of ones business jump up 30% in cost, let alone 240%. Come October and November, everyone will be assigned a permanent tariff amount in that range and they will have absolutely NO say about it and no appeals process whatsoever.

Who is Obama to tell people how much they have to pay for a product? That's NOT his role. I don't care what the name of the acting POTUS is, this action has NOTHING to do with the duties and responsibilities outlined in the Constitution for the Executive Branch and as such it's WRONG--pure and simple. The more we try to manipulate capitalism, the more people get hurt, plain and simple.

3 months later and it seems I was right ... the panel prices haven't hardly gone up at all.

We here in Canada had a dickens of a time finding affordable dairy products in storable form (e.g. milk powder in #10 cans) because most stuff comes from the States and Canada put a high tariff on dairy products coming into the country. If I wanted a can of powdered milk from the states I would have to pay close to 300% more for it! Sorry, not happening! I was finally fortunate to find a Canadian company from whom I could get powdered milk, cheese, and eggs but not butter, buttermilk, sour cream, etc. Well, at least we're getting somewhere.

I'm going to have to find time to wax some cheese and oil some eggs...

The US gov had no choice after what has happened with prices this year due to an over-supply of Chinese solar panels and parts. When Beijing stops manipulating their currency and falsely setting prices to injure (ie: stop) real competition, then we can sit back and not worry about punitive tariffs. In the meantime, BUY AMERICAN!

The U.S. Government has no authority to take this action, period. Even if the U.S. government DID have such authority, Seriously, you think the U.S. Government had no choice but to increase the cost of a key product for small businesses by anywhere between 30-240%?
There's a bigger problem here and it's got nothing to do with the smoke and mirrors story illustrated in your link.

Anyone complaining about tarrifs for China-made goods sold in America is a short-sighted fool. The Chinese have been playing this game with American exports sold to them for years!

The Chinese labor market is pretty much legal slavery. Obviously developed, fair, free countries like the USA cannot compete with nearly non-existent wages. So this is where we end up! It's really quite simple.

Everyone cries and screams about the loss of manufacturing jobs in the USA... right as they hop into their cheap Korean-made Hyundai... off to their Walmart to buy a bunch of inferior China-made crap, for next to nothing....

How is this contradiction not glaringly obvious to everyone?!? I just don't get it. People blow my mind. This is not abstract folks.

Let me make this simple: As long as Americans continue to buy cheap crap made in China over USA-made goods our economy will shrink and theirs will grow. We will have less power/leverage, and the spiral continues.

Don't get me wrong.... I don't encourage "trade wars", but lets be honest about the issue at hand. This is not because Obama is in office. That's BS. We've been on this trajectory for years. It was pretty inevitable. China is the problem, not the current pawn in the White House.

Time to wise up people. Support YOUR OWN country, or quit complaining that China is taking over the world. Selfish, shortsighted purchases "saving a couple bucks" cost us all dearly!!!

Unfortunately, it's the "buy American, it will solve all of our problems" that is a bit short-sighted. The purchasing of China's goods instead of buying American is a SYMPTOM of the problem, not the problem itself. Being grumpy about folks buying from other nation's is a scarcity mentality--as if there isn't enough goods to go around to consumers. It's also a misconception. Blaming Chinese consumerism is like blaming ambulances for all of the car accidents since there always seems to be one present.

In order for a business to compete in this market, they have a choice--charge more for American created goods and risk not even having a business, or buy products as cheaply as they can so that they can actually have a business and thus actually have a business which will employ people. It's a very warped and detailed scenario, but it is the symptom of a much larger problem--government interfering in commerce--something which they do NOT have the authority to do.

I would love to buy American (and Canadian). I would pay more to buy a quality item from a US manufacturer, than cheap made-in-China crap. Unfortunately, companies whose products I used to buy thought it made more financial sense to have their items produced overseas where everything is cheaper. If anyone can tell me where I can strill get American, I'll shop there. This solar panel tariff is just another domino (and they are starting to fall fast)on the way to TEOTWAWKI.

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know how solar panel systems would stand up if next spring's sun spot activity and predicted solar flares do the same kind of damage as the big one that occured in the 1800's?

Jan, From what I've read about solar panels and EMPs / CMEs, they can burn out the diodes causing failure. Also, the solar controller's electronics will fry. I have been thinking about packing mine up until the time comes..
Great site Kellene...!

"More than 60 Chinese firms, includingSuntech Power Holdings Co., the world's largest solar panel maker, and Trina Solar Ltd., face a 31% duty on their exports to the U.S., retroactive to shipments made in February. All other Chinese exporters of solar cells will be hit with a tariff of 250%."

My understanding is that this a protectve tariff intended to put American solar panels on an even playing field with the Chinese. It's also my understanding that the Chinese government massively subsidizes their solar industry, thus effectively undercutting American solar producers. This tariff is intended to protect America's self-reliance by kaking it profitable for American businesses to invest in solarR&D.

The world of unintended consequences...government action is full of them.

Solar panels are only a short-term fix anyway. What do you do when the batteries finally go bad? WHo will sell them?

Clearly you're getting solar panels confused with batteries. They are 2 different components.

This claim is related to a part of the tariff ruling that applies to less than 5% of Chinese of suppliers and is at core very dishonest regarding it's effect on the price and availability of the panels since the ruling came down half a year ago. More info in the reply I offered when you sent out this email a few months ago.


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