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President Trump’s Tariffs Hits U.S. Solar

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President Trump's Tariffs Hits U.S. Solar

U.S. solar installations fell 15 percent in the third quarter as the Trump administration’s tariffs on overseas-made panels forced developers to put off large projects, according to a report commissioned by the industry’s primary trade group.

The current weakness in the utility-scale market, however, will be offset by larger volumes of projects than had been expected over the next five years because solar energy is now cheaper than ever, the report said.

Quarterly installations of utility-scale solar were 678 megawatts, the lowest quarter since 2015 and a more than 30 percent decline from a year ago, the report by Wood Mackenzie for the U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association said. The total market, which includes residential and commercial installations, came in at 1.7 gigawatts.

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The slowdown is a shift for solar, which has experienced runaway gains in the last decade. Through the first three quarters of the year, solar accounted for 30 percent of electricity generating capacity additions.

Large solar projects for utilities are the most vulnerable to the 30 percent tariffs as panels can account for up to half their costs.

Trump announced the levy on all imported solar panels in January, his opening salvo in a trade war aimed at helping U.S. manufacturers rebound from years of decline. Solar installers opposed the move because they rely on cheap imported panels to compete with fossil fuels.

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Most of the panels installed in the United States are made in Asia by companies including China’s JinkoSolar Holding Co Ltd, Canadian Solar Inc, and U.S.-based SunPower Corp.

Wood Mackenzie lowered its 2018 utility-scale forecast to 6.6 GW from 6.8 GW as more projects get pushed into 2019.

The firm raised its forecasts for 2019 through 2023 by a combined 2.5 GW, however, as utilities procure projects that will qualify for a federal tax credit that begins to phase out in 2020. Developers will start projects next year but delay buying modules until 2020 or later because the tariff drops by 5 percent each year.

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Sliding solar panel prices are also spurring demand from utilities.

A move by China earlier this year to slash subsidies for solar installations has unleashed a flood of low-cost Chinese-made panels onto the global market – pushing down prices.

Solar energy system prices are at historical lows in all segments of the market, the report said. U.S. module prices are down more than 15 percent from a year ago.

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Mexico: Death Toll Rises To 73 In Fuel Pipeline Explosion

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Mexico: Death Toll Rises To 73 In Fuel Pipeline Explosion

The number of people killed in the fuel pipeline explosion that happened on Saturday in Hidalgo, Mexico has risen to 73 while 74 others are severely injured.

Having spent an estimated $3 billion in 2017 in highly publicized war on fuel theft, Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador vowed on Saturday to redouble efforts in his fight against an epidemic of fuel theft that caused the explosion.

 

“We have to continue with the plan to end fuel theft,” “We will not stop. We will eradicate this.” The president said during a news conference later at the presidential palace in Mexico City.

The government’s strategy has included diverting fuel from the pipelines most heavily targeted by criminal gangs, and transporting it by truck. But the logistical changes have slowed deliveries across the country, causing shortages and long lines at service stations.

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Regional Economic Summit Lebanon Overshadowed By Divisions

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Regional Economic Summit Lebanon Overshadowed By Division

A Regional Economic Summit Lebanon is preparing to host this weekend has been overshadowed by divisions over Syria’s future and efforts to contain Iran.

Many heads of state now say they will stay away.

The Emirs of Qatar and Kuwait will not attend, Egypt is planning to send the prime minister rather than the president, while the Palestinian authority president has said he will be in New York.

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The snub seems to be a message to Iran, whose allies, including Hezbollah, hold power in Lebanon and support the Syrian government.

Iran’s allies saw the talks as an opportunity to bring Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad back into the Arab fold.  They were hoping an Arab league foreign minister-level meeting before the summit would provide a chance to hold a vote on Syria’s reinstatement to the regional body.

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The Arab league suspended Syria’s membership in 2011 and imposed economic sanctions over its violent crackdown on anti-government protesters before the country descended into civil war. Some countries withdrew their ambassadors.

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Colombia: 11 Killed, 65 Injured In A Car Bomb

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Colombia: 11 Killed, 65 Injured In A Car Bomb

Colombian officials say 11 persons were killed and 65 others were injured after a car bomb detonated in the capital Bogota.

A high-ranking police official disclosed that the explosion appeared to be the result of a suicide attack.

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Police said the driver rammed the vehicle into the grounds of a police academy at full speed and ignored calls to stop.  The driver is presumed to have died in the blast, but it is unclear if authorities are counting the attacker in the death toll.

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President Ivan Du-Kay has condemned the attack as terrorism and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.  He has also declared a three-day mourning period.

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