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Trump Tariff Causes Solar Company to Halt $20 Million Investment

Solar energy company SunPower announced on Thursday that it is halting a $20 million investment in new factories and hundreds of new jobs after the Trump administration imposed federal tariffs this week, Reuters reports.

The California-headquartered company will not move forward with the expansion in its home state and Texas unless it is granted an exemption from President Donald Trump's decision to impose a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels. SunPower argues that its high-quality premium-priced panels should be excluded from the tariff on account of their efficiency and superior quality over competing solar companies.

"We have to stop the $20 million investment because the tariffs start before we know if we're excluded," SunPower Chief Executive Officer Tom Werner told Reuters. Although the tariffs go into effect on February 7th, rules for requesting an exclusion will not be released until February 22nd.

Trump intended for the tariff to protect American manufacturing jobs, but many in the American solar industry see it as a major hindrance to solar panel production.

About 80 percent of the $28 billion industry relies on parts made abroad. Although SunPower is based in San Jose, California, most of its production parts come from the Philippines and Mexico.

"We pay a higher tariff despite the fact that it's an American technology," Werner told Reuters.