$2.5 billion in solar projects canceled or frozen after Trump solar panel tariffs: report

$2.5 billion in solar projects canceled or frozen after Trump solar panel tariffs: report

Renewable energy companies have decided to cancel or freeze $2.5 billion in investments on large solar panel projects following President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE's decision to impose tariffs on imported panels, Reuters reported Thursday.

That number is more than twice the $1 billion that firms said they were planning to spend in the U.S. solar panel industry following Trump's decision in January, according to Reuters.

Cypress Creek Renewables LLC told Reuters that it has cancelled or frozen $1.5 billion in projects in response to the tariffs because the tariffs had increased its costs. Another company, Southern Current, also said that it put $1 billion worth of projects on hold.

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Neither of the companies gave Reuters any details on the projects they were canceling, saying that doing so would make sensitive information public.

Both companies have asked that trade officials exclude large-scale panels used for their utility projects from the 30 percent tariffs, which are set to last four years, falling by 5 percent each year.

Renewable energy companies and green groups largely opposed the tariffs when the Trump administration announced the measures earlier this year, saying they would make competition in the industry difficult.

The Solar Energy Industries Association predicted at the time that the tariffs would raise prices and kill roughly 23,000 jobs. 

The measures were requested by bankrupt companies Suniva and SolarWorld Americas, which said that the tariffs would help U.S. manufacturers and create more than 100,000 jobs.

Reuters reported that Trump's tariffs have boosted domestic manufacturing of solar panels, which it said could over time reduce prices for panels. 

Two manufacturers, First Solar and JinkoSolar, have, for example, announced an $800 million investment to increase panel construction in the U.S. that they say could lead to 700 new jobs in Ohio and Florida. 

But Reuters also pointed out that increased automation could cut into the number of new jobs created through increased production of panels in the United States.