Solar stocks are still dropping. Shares in solar energy companies are plunging across the U.S. after President Donald Trump imposed international tariffs on solar panel imports last week. Share prices dropped steeply that day, and one week later it’s clear that this knee-jerk reaction is more of a long-term one.
Trump’s motives are still unclear; is he trying to increase U.S. competitiveness in solar panel production, given that around 80% of its solar panels are imported from elsewhere? Or is he deliberately killing a renewable energy industry to make way for coal power production as part of his election campaign pledge?
Either way, he’s succeeding in the latter. Last week, we published a report on the tariffs as well as a list of three U.S. solar power companies and their stock performance on the day:
So how have these companies performed since then (Tuesday 23rd), compared with their current prices today?
- Real Goods Solar (NASDAQ:RGSE) is still slipping, currently priced at $1.34 USD, down -8.8%.
- Sunpower Corp. (NASDAQ:SPWR) is currently at $8.125 USD, down -0.67%.
- First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), the only one to have climbed a little, currently sits at $68.61 USD at the time of writing, an increase of 0.7%.
Things aren’t looking too bright elsewhere, either. Solar Senior Capital Ltd. (NASDAQ:SUNS) is down -2.5%, while Vivint Solar, Inc. (NYSE:VSLR) is down -3.97%.
This is not a promising first week for solar stocks, and if prices were going to bounce back after investors were initially scared off, they would have done so fairly quickly. With shares still falling pretty much across the board since the tariffs, the U.S. Solar industry is certainly appearing a little forlorn. The big question is what will happen in the next few weeks and months? Will things begin to climb again? Would it be a good idea to invest as the industry seeks rejuvenation? There aren’t any answers for sure, but it’s certainly not as bad as it seems.
One the one hand, the U.S. solar industry is positively booming in the grand scheme of things. According to a New York Times report, the industry employs around 370,000 people while the coal industry employs about 160,000. The Solar Foundation’s 2016 Jobs Consensus showed that 1 out of every 50 new US jobs was in solar and that solar jobs have increased 20% every year from 2012-2016. Whether a 30% import tariff will completely stunt this growth remains to be seen, but it’s certainly not sure too. In addition, Chinese manufacturers could build solar panel factories in the US, circumventing the tariffs. Or ultimately, the Trump administration could rescind its decision.
There are a lot of what-ifs here. It’s not looking like there will be a spike in solar shares anytime soon, so investors may want to be patient and observe prices over the next week.
What do you think about Trump’s tariffs? Comment in the box below.
Featured Image: Depositphotos/© gyuszko