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NM solar companies fight for solar tax incentive after Trump increases price by 30%

Solar panels

While solar panels are meant to save consumers money, many people could actually be spending more.

President Trump signed a pair of trade actions that would raise the cost of solar panels bought overseas.

Many business owners are in Santa Fe talking with local legislators and fighting for Senate Bill 79 to pass.

The bill would give people in New Mexico a 10 percent income tax credit for investing in solar panels.

Christopher Fortson is a marketing manager for Sun Power by Positive Energy Solar.

He said that, while the price of solar panels will go up for consumers, it won’t be the 30 percent Trump is asking for.

“We’re not expecting to see an actual 30 percent increase in the cost of solar for the consumer. Actually, it’s more like, potentially, a 10 percent increase in the total system cost,” Fortson said.

Fortson said most companies buy their solar cells overseas because there aren’t many companies in the U.S. that make them.

He also said that is why countries such as China make solar cells overseas.

Countries such as China, he said, make solar cells efficiently and for a low price.

Fortson said that New Mexico has seen a boost in the economy from solar-related jobs, which have added between 2,000 and 3,000 jobs to the state.

“The solar industry in New Mexico has outshined just about any other industry in job growth,” Fortson said.

On Thursday, KFOX14 spoke with a man who said he’s for the tax increase on solar panels.

He said it’s an incentive for American companies to start making their own solar panels and complete with companies overseas.

“There seems to be quite a few actions taking place to try to get local American companies to invest in America, try and get our infrastructure going, our economy back,” Nathanael Hernandez said.

Fortson disagrees.

He said the new tariff will hurt job growth for the state because most companies in the U.S. are only installing solar panels, not manufacturing solar cells.

“You’re not gonna see that kind of job growth anymore and it’s gonna get a little bit stagnant so, when we talk about solar and the industry, it’s about jobs,” Fortson said.

Fortson said if Senate Bill 79 passes, it would counteract the 10 percent tax increase that passed on Tuesday.

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