- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Two days after President Trump slapped a 30 percent tariff on foreign solar panels, Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Wednesday announced a $3 million grant competition to spur America’s solar manufacturing sector.

In a statement, Mr. Perry said the $3 million award, known as the American Made Solar Prize, is designed to “incentivize the nation’s entrepreneurs to develop new processes and products that will reassert American leadership in the solar marketplace.”

The U.S. solar power industry has seen huge gains over the past decade, but much of the growth has come because of the sector’s use of cheaper foreign-made products, many of which come from China.

Mr. Perry said the contest, along with broader investment from the Energy Department, will help American products compete in the marketplace.

“The United States possesses the talent, expertise, and vision to surpass the rest of the world in solar technologies and forge a new solar energy landscape around the globe,” the secretary said. “The American Made Solar Prize will galvanize our country’s entrepreneurs, allow them to utilize technologies and innovations developed through DOE’s early-stage research and development, and, ultimately, bring new American-made products to market.”

Mr. Trump’s 30 percent tariff, which is deeply opposed by solar industry leaders but supported by many manufacturing companies that say they’ve been hurt by cheap Chinese products, will decline each year for the next four years.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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