Michael Woodard Discusses Impact of Trump Tariffs on Solar Deals in Law360

January 24, 2018

Richmond partner Michael Woodard, chair of McGuireWoods’ renewable energy practice, commented in a Jan. 23 Law360 story about the impact of the Trump administration’s tariffs on solar cell and module imports.

In the article titled “Trump Tariffs Inflict Short-Term Pain on Solar Development,” Woodard noted that the 30 percent tariff “could have been worse,” but that in the near term, the tariff will have an immediate impact on project cost. 

“The PPA pricing has really come down over the years,” Woodard said. “The margins were already getting very tight, and with these tariffs, they will only get tighter. This could push some of those projects out of viability, at least in the near term.”

He added, however, that concerns about the tariffs halting solar deals are overblown as U.S. markets will continue to drive demand for solar energy. “Even with these tariffs, the module pricing is not going back to where it was in 2015 or even 2016 — you’re still going to have relatively low-priced modules,” Woodard said. “It’ll be interesting to see how these tariffs affect overall module pricing over the next few years.”