Local solar panel seller will eat extra cost from tariff

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Modern Mill Solar has been selling and installing solar panels in Northeast Indiana for more than two years. Owners there also have a solar panel business in Southern California. Hoosiers aren’t willing to pay as much for solar energy as Californians so Modern Mill Solar is ready to eat any costs caused by the tariff.

On Tuesday, the Trump Administration announced a 30-percent tariff on solar panel imports. Modern Mill Solar’s Owner, Mark Brough, had been keeping an eye on a tariff decision.

“It’s not a cage-rattling type thing,” Brough said. “It doesn’t move the needle for us much. We just now know the obstacles we’ll have to get around now.”

The obstacles are likely to include a higher price per watt when Modern Mill Solar buys from its distributor. Brough estimates about ten cents more a watt.

“So on an average residential install it may increase a couple hundred dollars maybe up to $500-$600.

Brough said in Indiana solar energy is catching on, but at a much slower rate than places like Southern California. To keep the momentum going in Indiana Modern Mill Solar does not want to put any extra costs on the customer.

“The consumers who want solar are demanding the market rate,” Brough said. “When they do raise a tariff, for example, by and large I will eat that [cost] in order to get to promote solar.”

The Trump Administration said the tariff is to protect American manufacturing jobs. For Brough, tariff or not, he’ll continue to promote solar energy in Fort Wayne.

“It’s not going to close the doors on us,” Brough said.

It will be a 30-percent tariff its first year then gradually decrease over four years. The Administration also placed a tariff on imported washing machines.