(Bloomberg) President Donald Trump’s trade representative requested more details about how low-cost imported solar panels have harmed U.S. manufacturers as the White House considers imposing tariffs.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer asked the U.S. International Trade Commission in a letter Monday for a report to help the president take “appropriate and feasible action” to support domestic solar panel manufactures.

The trade commission recommended this month tariffs of as much as 35 percent on imported solar panels to help U.S. manufacturers compete. It came after Suniva Inc., a bankrupt Georgia panel maker, filed a trade complaint saying it was crippled by foreign competitors. Trump has the final say on setting any tariffs.

Lighthizer specifically asked the trade commission to identify any “unforeseen developments” that led to U.S. companies being harmed. The move may be an effort to head off any challenges at the World Trade Organization should Trump impose tariffs, said Clark Packard, a trade policy analyst for the Washington-based free-market think tank R Street Institute.

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Trump Xi
Courtesy Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
 
Suniva
Courtesy Suniva

(Reuters) - Federal trade officials on Tuesday will recommend measures to safeguard struggling domestic solar panel manufacturers against cheap imports in a closely watched case that could have a major impact on the price of U.S. solar power.

The vote by the U.S. International Trade Commission is a major milestone in a case that has divided the solar industry for the last six months. The panel’s proposals, which could include tariffs, a quota or other trade remedies, will be delivered to President Donald Trump, who will make a final decision later this year.

Trade remedies were requested earlier this year by two small U.S. manufacturers that say they are not able to compete with cheap panels made overseas, mainly in Asia.

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(Las Vegas Review-Journal) CARSON CITY — The Nevada Public Utilities Commission approved an order Friday that establishes net metering policies aimed at helping the rooftop solar industry grow.

The order, which is effective immediately, requires NV Energy to charge the same fees to customers regardless of whether they use solar. Solar users also get compensation for excess solar energy that they don’t use through a credit on their bills.

The order follows the Legislature’s passage this session of Assembly Bill 405, which was aimed at making rooftop solar financially viable. Solar energy advocates praised the commission’s move.

"Nevadans have said loud and clear they want the choice to install solar on their own homes and see solar jobs grow again in Nevada,” said Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association. “That was the intent of AB 405, and we are pleased the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada recognized that in its ruling today."

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Solar Panels  | Getty Images
Courtesy Getty Images

(The Hill) - A broad industry and conservative coalition launched Friday to fight potential tariffs on imported solar panels. Energy Trade Action Coalition includes mainly non-solar companies, along with trade associations, utilities, retailers, unions, conservative groups and others.

It was formed with the express purpose of fighting a petition by bankrupt domestic solar manufacturer Suniva Inc., which is asking the Trump administration to impose penalties on imported solar technology like cells and panels. SolarWorld, another company manufacturing panels domestically, has signed on to support the request.

“Tariffs meant to protect one industry can, and often do, have significant damaging effects on other domestic industries,” Tori Whiting, research associate at the Heritage Foundation, said in a statement announcing the new coalition. “Imposing tariffs under Section 201, as Suniva and SolarWorld request, would be a step backward by adding another layer of federal subsidies which is something the Heritage Foundation opposes in all instances,” she said.

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The company’s “Project Sunroof” now shows you which of your friends have already put solar panels on their roof.

(The Atlantic) One of the best predictors of whether people install solar panels on their house isn’t their age, their race, their level of income, or their political affiliation.

It’s whether their neighbors did it first.

This finding has been shown repeatedly across space and time, including in California, Connecticut, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. “It happens at the street level, it happens within zip codes, it happens within states. It seems to be a common feature of human decision-making that crosses many boundaries,” says Kenneth Gillingham, a professor of economics at Yale University whose study helped establish the finding.

On Monday, Google will put the finding into practice with Project Sunroof, its free online tool that aims to make it easier for people to obtain and use home solar panels. Project Sunroof will now not only inform users how much sun hits their roof, or how much solar panels would save them per month, but also which of their neighbors have taken the plunge first.

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Infographic: More Workers In Solar Than Fossil Fuel Power Generation  | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

(Bloomberg BNA) - The solar and wind industries are pushing a message they think sells well even with an administration fixed on helping fossil fuels: Renewable energy creates jobs.

Solar and wind are among the fastest growing sectors in the economy, and the trend is projected to continue, the renewable industries say.

In coal, robotic machines and automation inside mines and self-driving trucks in surface activities are replacing workers, Amy Myers Jaffe, a global fellow focusing on energy and environment at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, told Bloomberg BNA. She said the solar and wind manufacturing, installation and maintenance jobs may be harder to replace.

“As solar costs really fall, and the only way for coal to be competitive is to eliminate jobs. To me, that’s really the key point,” she told Bloomberg BNA.

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(FoxNews.com) The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum is switching to a new form of energy -- solar power.

The museum in Benham began installing the solar panels on Tuesday, WYMT reported. Brandon Robinson, the museum's communications director, said the goal is to save money in the long run.

"We believe that this project will help save at least $8,000 to $10,000 off the energy costs on this building alone," Robinson told WYMT.

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(Clean Technica) - Google has announced that its revolutionary Project Sunroof tool is now able to provide a reliable estimate of how much sunlight a given rooftop might receive in all 50 US states, up from 42 states nearly a year ago.

The last we heard from Project Sunroof, it was revealed that it had been expanded to provide data to 42 states across the US, up from 10 states only a few months earlier. Project Sunroof started as one of Google’s 20% projects — projects Google employees can work on in 20% of their time at Google, which sometimes then get branded as a Google product with the company’s full backing. Project Sunroof uses imagery from Google Maps and Google EARTH, 3D modelling, and machine learning to estimate how much sunlight a given rooftop receives, helping to answer how much energy a given rooftop could produce if it had solar panels.

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