Cheap, imported solar panels have fueled growth in the solar industry in Texas, and reinvigorated the careers of laid-off oilfield workers, as the Texas Tribune reports, but some industry leaders fear a trade case will increase prices and end that growth.
Many West Texas workers who lost jobs when oil prices dropped two years ago found employment in the solar power industry through longer-term construction projects building facilities that harness solar power.
The respite may be short-lived. Solar industry advocates are warning that a case facing the U.S. International Trade Commission could significantly raise the price of solar panels in the United States, stunting growth across the country, but especially in Texas.
Georgia-based Suniva, Inc. filed a petition with the Trade Commission in April requesting protection from foreign competition by setting a tariff and barring imported solar panels below a certain price level.
If that happens, some estimates suggest Texas could lose more than 6,000 jobs in construction.