In the President Trump’s wisdom about trade wars – they can be easily won, one of the tariffs, the President imposed on was solar panels. When the tariffs were imposed the first reaction of the industry was it would make the process of putting on solar panels on a house more expensive. According to Brian Eckhouse of Bloomberg News the tariffs showed not all solar companies are alike, some have benefited and some have not.
Sunrun and Vivint Solar are residential installers and their shares are up, while the panel makers who the President was trying to help, their shares are down.
The tariffs made panels more expensive in the US threatening manufacturers. The installers are faring better because panels are just one of their costs, and not the biggest one, because the tariffs were not as bad as it was feared.
According to David Arcaro, an analyst at Morgan Stanley both Sunrun and Vivint can better absorb tariff driven cost increases. Customer acquisition and installation tend to be the installers’ biggest expenses.
Manufacturers are dealing with a global glut of panels which has driven down prices.
In addition, legislation in California which is the biggest consumer state of panels has mandated all new homes have to have solar panels beginning in 2020. An April ruling in Florida allows Sunrun to lease panels to existing homeowners. In addition, a key tax incentive was extended by US Internal Revenue Service.
Linking to dividend paying stocks, in every announcement the government gives to some and takes away from others. Sometimes it seems one hand does not know what the other had is doing, but that is the system we all live with. Announcements by government deserve doing analysis of who benefits and who loses. Similar the President may impose tariffs on solar panels, but states and the general public still believe solar panels are part of the solution to both greater electricity and climate change. When announcements happen, try to understand why someone benefits, then you can act appropriately.
There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.