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Found on Facebook. Author is Martin Webb, KVMR host on Energy Report and Cannabis Crusades. Enjoy. Okay, folks. I'd like to chime in about this solar panel tariff thing. I'm seeing a LOT of anti-Trump social media sharing about this, and it is actually very much unwarranted. As a 20-yr veteran of the solar industry, who owned and operated my own solar company for 12 of those years, and as a 13-yr veteran of hosting a monthly radio show called The Energy Report, I keep an EXTREMELY CLOSE EYE on these types of things, and have for a very long time. I've seen the ups and downs in solar from political interference, starting my career back when Bill Clinton was in office, and have been in the industry through multiple presidents and state governors, and understand the nuances of policy-making in regards to renewable energy and solar in particular. I also, as a proud decline-to-state voter, would like to believe that when someone on the "right/conservative" side of things gets something totally wrong about a president, say Obama for example, that people close to them step up and correct the inaccurate lambasting, to tamp down the emotional hatred. I'd like to think the same is true for the "left/progressive" side. So I'm stepping in here to call bullshit on all this anti-Trump hysteria over this solar tariff and ask everyone to calm the f*ck down. You wanna know the truth? Here's the scoop: * * * - This tariff did not just come out of nowhere. Trump did not just wake up Monday and decide to raise the price of panels, hoping to harm renewable energy and/or the solar industry. It was not even his idea. He was basically forced into it, and he actually could've made things worse, or announced a tariff 2 months ago, if he really wanted to be churlish about it. * * * - No, it is not a major blow to renewable energy. And no, Time, it is not even the "biggest blow he's dealt to the renewable energy industry." * * * - No, it will not "kill" the solar industry, as other hysterical media outlets have claimed. We have made it through much worse, and come out fine. We will continue to do fine, especially those of us that have been in the industry long enough and know how to prepare for the vagaries of having an industry tied so closely to political whims that shift and blow. * * * - The job loss is unknown. The solar industry associations ran some numbers to show the worst-case scary scenario, in order to stop the tariff process that was unfolding over the past year, but I believe it won't be as bad as they say. * * * - Yes, there will be solar projects that might have been on the cusp of economically panning out, that will not get built so soon, they may wait 4-5 years. However, for many, the economics of solar will still be fantastic. For example, just a few years ago, 51% of ALL the installed solar power in the entire country was located in just one utility company's territory: PG&E of Northern CA. That's where I do most of my work. Their prices are so freaking high, that even 15 years ago, when their rates were much lower and solar cost three times as much as today (it used to cost $9/W…now I sell systems for $3/W), that the economics even THEN made sense. Now that solar is so much cheaper and their rates have skyrocketed, even a tariff will not make it still a better choice…all of CA is like that, and CA is still the overwhelming leader in solar. We won't be affected that greatly, we'll just have a few less deals to close. * * * - The 30% tariff only applies to the wholesale cost of panels, and the panels are only part of the cost of installing solar. It's not a 30% increase on the overall price of going solar. The real net impact to consumers is a price increase of around 5-10% for your system installation…likely a single digit net cost increase. But wait…theres more... * * * - The 30% federal tax credit is still in place and that gets rid of 30% of any price hike, so a $1,000 increase in contract price, is a net increase of $700, since your tax credit will go up by $300. A higher price means a higher tax credit. A 10% increase in contract price, means a 7% net increase due to the tax credit. * * * - Most importantly, we all knew this was coming in the solar industry, because all of this started early last year, when two majority-foreign-owned solar panel manufacturers that had factories in the US, were going out of business. One is called Suniva, a China-backed manufacturer with a factory in GA that filed for bankruptcy last year, and the other is called SolarWorld, a German-owned manufacturer with a factory in OR, whose German parent company filed for insolvency last year as well. Good riddance if you ask me. If you ask the rest of the industry, they both filed for insolvency because of poor mgmt, bad business practices, questionable production issues, etc. If you have a choice of installing SolarWorld panels, and there are still local companies selling them, just SAY NO! Their OR factory is still limping along and hasn't completely closed…yet. * * * - When these two foreign-owned/foreign-backed companies went bankrupt last year, they decided to kick the rest of the industry in the balls as they went out the door, so they filed a very rare and unique trade case with a somewhat obscure US govt agency called the International Trade Commission (ITC), under a little known provision called Section 201. THAT started the whole process of where we are today. These two manufacturers claimed that the only reason they went out of business is because the price of solar panels was too cheap, and therefore the US govt should increase the price by adding a tariff to all panels that come into the US from outside our borders. * * * - Note: The ITC did an analysis and found that 95% of solar panels being installed in the US are imported, whether it's from Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia or wherever. So this would basically raise the price of virtually ALL panels in the US. * * * - After filing this rare trade case with the ITC, these two bankrupt companies triggered a very specific process that had to be followed by law, and then played out all last year: * * * - First, the ITC had to analyze the solar panel manufacturing market and decide if any harm was done to the US solar panel manufacturing industry as a result of non-US panel prices being so low. They didn't have to decide whether it was unfair or just part of the global market, or even decide why…it could just be market forces…it's cheaper to make panels elsewhere, so US factories closed, since no one wants to pay those made in the US prices. Everyone wants panels to be as cheap as possible, so overseas the factories went. It may not be unfair, it may just be business following the cheapest route. At any rate, we all knew that OF COURSE the ITC would be forced to conclude the the US solar panel manufacturing industry was harmed by low prices. There were multiple public hearings in DC about this all last summer, with both sides arguing their case…the entire solar industry on one side, arguing against tariffs, and these two bankrupt companies on the other side, begging for a price hike. (You didn't hear about that in the news, did you? This is probably all new news to you NOW, but it's been a year long process that had nothing to do with Trump and he had no involvement until now.) * * * - Once the ITC decided in Sept that yes, there was harm, then by law they were forced to come up with recommendations for how to "remedy the harm." The ITC is made up of 4 commissioners, some Rs and some Ds. They had more public hearings about what the remedies should be. Suniva and SolarWorld still argued for huge tariffs, bigger than what was announced this week. * * * - In Nov, after much anticipation industrywide, the ITC finally released their recommendations to the president. The 4 commissioners couldn't agree, but they all recommended lower tariffs than Suniva or SolarWorld. One R-commissioner said "add a govt-mandated 35% tariff price increase on all imported panels," while another D-commissioner recommended no blanket tariffs on all imports and instead adopt a quota system, where imported panels were tariff-free up until a certain amount of total imports was hit, and then once that point was reached, tariffs would kick in. The two remaining commissioners actually did agree on a plan together, one was an R and one was a D, so they jointly recommended a 30% price hike. These 3 different recomms were given to the president in Nov. * * * - Now here's where Trump comes in. Under the rules with this rare Section 201 ITC trade case, after the ITC gives their recomms to the president, he has sole authority to decide what to do…he can adopt one of the recomms, ignore all of them altogether and come up with something even higher and harsher, or he can ignore all the recomms and adopt something lesser. He could literally do whatever he wants. He has cart blanche to ignore everything they say and make up his own tariffs. Scary right? AND the Section 201 rules say he HAD until Jan 26th (this Friday) to decide. He's given a hard deadline that's out of his hands. It's then in his court with the clock ticking. * * * - So we've been on pins and needles for 2 1/2 months. We worried Trump would decide right away after he rec'd the Nov recomms from the ITC, and not wait until the last minute of the deadline. I mean, if he wanted to really screw solar, he should've done it months ago, and not waited at all. He could've announced tariffs in Nov, or Dec, or anytime on the past two weeks to get the pain started ASAP…but he HAD to decide by Friday. In the end, he waited almost as long as possible and didn't do the dick move and raise prices earlier. * * * - We also heard rumors he was going to ignore all recomms and decide on something even HARSHER…really threatening the price of solar. But in the end, he didn't. And he perfectly well could have. He could've just up and said 2 months ago: "I'm going to add a 50% price hike tariff!" No. And he didn't even adopt the harshest recomm from the R-commissioner (35% tariff). He adopted the middle ground, that was recommended jointly by an R and D pair of commissioners…30% tariff. And he waited until almost the last minute. * * * - So you see, he was forced to make a decision this week on this, as president, and he took the middle ground of recomms. He didn't ask for this. He didn't make it up out of thin air. Two shitty companies started the whole thing last year, and if he really wanted to screw us, he would've announced a worse tariff 2 months ago. Or a worse tariff on Monday. But he didn't. * * * So cut it out. Blame Suniva and SolarWorld. Trump was put in an awkward position. He's not killing the industry or RE. The tariffs go down 5% per year and end after 4 years, so next year they drop to a 25% tariff, then a 20% tariff, then a 15% tariff, then they disappear. I told you all to go solar already and stop waiting, but would you listen? Nooo! Note: some manufacturers are absorbing some or all of the tariff, so if you go SunPower for your home with the company I work for, CA Solar Electric Co, there is no price hike, and you get the best panels in the world, made by a CA-based US company with a factory in Mexico (a world-class factory that wins awards for cleanliness, water re-use, zero-waste, and good treatment of workers). * * * Most of the reporting on this is anti-Trump hyperbole. Trump didn't wake up and decide to mess with solar. This is the end of a year long process that we all knew was coming. Wow, can't believe I'm defending Trump. He's mostly been a policy disaster, but this isn't one of his. I'm glad he waited, it helped me give better pricing to a real estate office in Sacramento, and the Chicago Park Fire Dept, both of who were my last contracts before his announcement. So the truth needs to be heard, and everyone needs to adopt more integrity around this issue. Thanks for listening. That's all I have. Why the hell are you reading this far?
Toggle Commented Jan 28, 2018 on Sandbox - 25jan18 at Rebane's Ruminations
While waiting to pick up a package over the holidays I noticed many of the packages in the back sorting room had Amazon labels. The Postal Service never seems to have money and Jeff Bezos has plenty so I said maybe Bezos should just buy the Postal Service. The reply was that he would get rid of the union and employees would lose out.
Toggle Commented Jan 28, 2018 on Sandbox - 25jan18 at Rebane's Ruminations
If you don't want to try the charity route you can just pay your taxes in the "usual" way. I think the "usual" way should be the "charity donation" way. For me it is just a way to mess with the Fed.
Yes, as I said in my 522pm I did not understand at first what de Leon was proposing. Now I think why not?
I think you are barking up the wrong tree. The Fed is not letting people deduct their state income tax payment any longer. So the state is trying to come up with a way to make your tax payment a charitable deduction. I did not understand it at first but I say why not? I am no fan of the Fed and don't want my taxes to go up. Do you?
It already is basically a charity. So why not get a charitable deduction?
What the state needs to do is simply designate itself as a charity. Your taxes are then a charitable deduction. Easy.
I still must be missing something. Why would de Leon bother to offer up a "state charity" as a solution since it is obvious that a donation to any charity will do? Can you imagine how it would look if you searched for California State Charity in Guidestar or Charity Navigator and looked at the program expense ratio? "Management" expenses would account for 95 cents of every dollar you donated.
Regarding the AMT, for high income (over $1 million) filers the AMT would be reduced. It will be interesting to see if the amount saved in the new AMT calculations will substantially offset the loss of the state tax deduction making the state charity scam a mute point.
The point of my 11am was to point out that you can get the same tax deduction if you give it to any charity. You don't have to give it to the state charity.
GeorgeR 1103am - Here is something you might have missed, "The IRS has long required taxpayers to subtract the value of anything they receive in return for a charitable contribution before taking a deduction, so someone who gets a $5 tote bag for a $50 donation to a public TV station, for example, can only deduct $45. But the IRS has also said that the value of the deduction itself in terms of federal tax avoided does not have to be subtracted, said Kirk J. Stark, a tax law professor at the University of California-Los Angeles School of Law. Stark said the IRS could change its ruling to address what California and New Jersey are looking to do, but that could also impact the voucher programs and more widespread programs that provide real estate developers incentives to preserve land on which they could otherwise build. "Tax credits for donations of conservation easements have become a popular thing to do," Stark said. "Before he became president, Donald Trump made several donations of conservation easements over the years.""
A person would not have to donate to the state charity to get the same deduction so this idea could lead to more charitable giving. Donate to charities within the state and keep the money local instead of sending it to the federal government.
A donation to a state charity (like any other charity) would not directly benefit the giver. The idea of a flat tax is to eliminate deductions. A flat tax would be a good thing. But if Congress (Republicans) is going to eliminate the state income tax deduction then they should have eliminated the AMT which was devised to make sure the rich paid plenty of taxes even after their deductions. On my 2016 tax return it looks like the amount of 37% tax I would have paid on my deducted state tax portion was close to the amount I paid in AMT. The difference between 39.6% and 37% tax rates does not make up for the amount of AMT and loss of state tax deduction. Corporations win, people pay more.
Bill, now Trump has picked Jeff Sessions. The cycle of Presidents picking attorney generals who make poor decisions continues.
Toggle Commented Jan 5, 2018 on Sandbox - 1jan2018 at Rebane's Ruminations
Boys, get your 1911s here,
Toggle Commented Jan 5, 2018 on Sandbox - 1jan2018 at Rebane's Ruminations
From Janet Reno to Jeff Sessions, why do our attorney generals suck?
Toggle Commented Jan 5, 2018 on Sandbox - 1jan2018 at Rebane's Ruminations
America is heading toward a feudal society. Vast tracts of land are not policed. Security is now being focused in on manageable areas. Gated communities, checkpoints at government buildings, schools, arenas are more and more common. A wall ends here, the border is abandoned. 31.33362, -110.7958
Toggle Commented Jan 4, 2018 on America’s Checkpoints at Rebane's Ruminations
I'll pass on a post at this FOB. South of this base on Google maps the borderline is conveniently fuzzed out but you can see all the roads leading from Mexico to the US as you scroll along the border.,+Papago+Farms+Rd,+Sells,+AZ+85634/@31.764925,-112.3101505,13z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x86d4df63e0703a25:0xc20b3f0415f1f314
Toggle Commented Jan 4, 2018 on America’s Checkpoints at Rebane's Ruminations
Posted by: George Rebane | 21 November 2017 at 09:23 AM Gone are the good old drag them back to the cave days. Those were the days!
Toggle Commented Nov 21, 2017 on Sandbox - 20nov17 at Rebane's Ruminations
President Trump has his work cut out for him in his dealings with China. Chinese Supremacy! This article, though aimed at a U.S. audience, gives a scary insight into China's growing economic power. A Little Known Reality: In future China will employ millions of American workers and dominate thousands of small communities all over the United States. Chinese acquisition of U.S. Businesses set a new all-time record last year, and it is on pace to shatter that record this year. The Smithfield Foods acquisition is an example. Smithfield Foods is the largest pork producer and processor in the world. It has facilities in 26 U.S. States and it employs tens of thousands of Americans. It directly owns 460 farms and has contracts with approximately 2,100 others. But now a Chinese company has bought it for $ 4.7 billion, and that means that the Chinese will now be the most important employer in dozens of rural communities all over America. Thanks in part to our massively bloated trade deficit with China, the Chinese have trillions of dollars to spend. They are only just starting to exercise their economic muscle. It is important to keep in mind that there is often not much of a difference between "the Chinese government" and "Chinese corporations". In 2011, 43 per cent of all profits in China were produced by companies where the Chinese government had a controlling interest in. Last year a Chinese company spent $2.6 billion to purchase AMC entertainment - one of the largest movie theater chains in the United States. Now that Chinese company controls more movie ticket sales than anyone else in the world. But China is not just relying on acquisitions to expand its economic power. "Economic beachheads" are being established all over America. For example, Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group, Inc. recently broke ground on a $100 million plant in Thomasville, Alabama. Many of the residents of Thomasville, Alabama will be glad to have jobs, but it will also become yet another community that will now be heavily dependent on communist China. And guess where else Chinese companies are putting down roots? Detroit. Chinese-owned companies are investing in American businesses and new vehicle technology, selling everything from seat belts to shock absorbers in retail stores, and hiring experienced engineers and designers in an effort to soak up the talent and expertise of domestic automakers and their suppliers. If you recently purchased an "American-made" vehicle, there is a really good chance that it has a number of Chinese parts in it. Industry analysts are hard-pressed to put a number on the Chinese suppliers operating in the United States. China seems particularly interested in acquiring energy resources in the United States. For example, China is actually mining for coal in the mountains of Tennessee. Guizhou Gouchuang Energy Holdings Group spent $616 million dollars to acquire Triple H Coal Co. in Jacksboro,Tennessee. At the time, that acquisition really didn't make much news, but now a group of conservatives in Tennessee is trying to stop the Chinese from blowing up their mountains and taking their coal. And pretty soon China may want to build entire cities in the United States just like they have been doing in other countries. Right now China is actually building a city larger than Manhattan just outside Minsk, the capital of Belarus. Are you starting to get the picture? China is on the rise. If you doubt this, just read the following: # When you total up all imports and exports, China is now the number one trading nation on the entire planet. # Overall, the U.S. has run a trade deficit with China over the past decade that comes to more than 2.3 trillion dollars. # China has more foreign currency reserves than anyone else on the planet. # China now has the largest new car market in the entire world. # China now produces more than twice as many automobiles as the United States does. # After being bailed out by U.S. taxpayers, GM is involved in 11 joint ventures with Chinese companies. # China is the number one gold producer in the world. # The uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team were made in China. # 85% of all artificial Christmas trees the world over are made in China. # The new World Trade Center tower in New York is going to include glass imported from China. # China now consumes more energy than the United States does. # China is now in aggregate the leading manufacturer of goods in the entire world. # China uses more cement than the rest of the world combined. # China is now the number one producer of wind and solar power on the entire globe. # China produces 3 times as much coal and 11 times as much steel as the United States does. # China produces more than 90 percent of the global supply of rare earth elements. # China is now the number one supplier of components that are critical to the operation of any national defense system. # In published scientific research articles China is expected to become number one in the world very shortly.
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2017 on Sandbox - 20nov17 at Rebane's Ruminations
I don't know if I like this guy Alex Azar. Is it a good thing for Americans to have an industry insider running HHS? Will he work to lower drug prices? Will he be big pharma's tool?
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2017 on Sandbox - 15nov17 at Rebane's Ruminations
Gregory 832, only the cool people are allowed to use this avatar.
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2017 on Sandbox - 15nov17 at Rebane's Ruminations
Gregory 712, your avatar looks like a snowflake. A coincidence?
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2017 on Sandbox - 15nov17 at Rebane's Ruminations
Trump is correct. He will not benefit from the Death Tax repeal. He will be dead when his kids are dancing in the family treasure vault.
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2017 on Sandbox - 15nov17 at Rebane's Ruminations