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In response to federal tariffs, Sun Solar CEO Caleb Arthur says his company will buy solar panels from Silfab Solar’s Bellingham, Washington, plant.
SBJ file photo
In response to federal tariffs, Sun Solar CEO Caleb Arthur says his company will buy solar panels from Silfab Solar’s Bellingham, Washington, plant.

Sun Solar switches to US-made panels to avoid tariff

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Sun Solar LLC made the switch to American-made panels to reduce costs from the 30 percent tariff imposed by the Trump administration on solar panels produced in Canada.

While the tariff on solar panels went into effect in January 2018, Sun Solar was able to secure a price deal to prevent cost increases last year, according to a news release.

“I wanted to avoid being put in a position where Sun Solar would have to pass on massive cost increases to our customers,” Sun Solar CEO Caleb Arthur said in the release. “To prevent this, we worked hard to secure fixed pricing prior to the imposition of the tariff, but this was only a temporary solution due to Sun Solar’s good relationship with suppliers. Our long-term goal was to partner with a manufacturer within the U.S. to offer American-made panels at a competitive price to imported panels.”

Sun Solar now has signed on to buy panels from Canadian company Silfab Solar Inc.’s plant in Bellingham, Washington, and avoid the 30 percent tariff on panels made in the United States neighbor. Chelsey Bunch, director of marketing for Sun Solar, said the cost of American-made panels is roughly 5 percent higher than those manufactured outside the United States, though overall costs for panels has decreased from last year.

The Springfield solar supplier previously bought panels from Silfab, as well as Jinko Solar, Boviet Solar and JA Solar, Bunch said. Sun Solar is now solely buying residential panels from Silfab.

Sun Solar also announced it will offer a rebate on panels to City Utilities of Springfield customers, starting March 31, according to the release.

“We believe it’s time that local utility companies, including Springfield City Utilities, must promote clean energy in order to help the planet. It is Sun Solar’s hope that by enacting this rebate program, City Utilities will follow suit and launch a rebate program of its own,” Arthur said in the release. “Neighboring utility companies, such as Empire/Liberty and KCP&L, all provide rebate programs for solar energy systems, and there’s no reason Springfield City Utility customers shouldn’t have one as well.”

Sun Solar in August ranked 1,351st on the annual Inc. 5000 list for fast growth. Sun Solar reported three-year revenue growth of 353 percent to $19.5 million in 2017. The company also was a finalist for Springfield Business Journal’s Economic Impact Awards last year.


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