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Solar Investors Will Be Closely Watching This Presidential Decision

By Motley Fool Staff - Oct 1, 2017 at 3:30PM

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The ITC's vote to recommend import restrictions on solar panels to protect the domestic market would cause waves in the industry. Investors should be closely watching the outcome of this proposal.

The recommendation from the International Trade Commission (ITC) to impose import restrictions on solar panel imports to the U.S. will have far-reaching consequences for the solar industry.

In this segment of Industry Focus: Energy, show host Sarah Priestley and Motley Fool premium analyst Taylor Muckerman discuss what the effect might be on solar stocks and how investors might avoid some volatility in this nascent industry.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on Sept. 28, 2017.

Sarah Priestley: This still has a long way to go, as you said. The ITC commissioners submit specific policy recommendations to the White House. They'll do that by mid-November. The president then has two months to decide whether to impose trade barriers, and that's if the restrictions aren't opposed. As we're alluding to, in this situation, it doesn't seem to make sense. As I said, it'll be interesting to see what they do. But what do you think this would do for solar stocks if this does go through?

Taylor Muckerman: You look at some companies, Tesla, I guess, if you want access to Solar City, and SunPower might be a little bit more exposed. When the news broke that the ITC had passed this, as you said, four-to-nil, First Solar (FSLR 1.93%) actually jumped up to 6% on Friday because they're largely believed to be less impacted than others just based on the technology and the solar panel style that they're making. There are some companies that could be a little less impacted, First Solar being one of them, if you believe the market. But then, earlier this week, it dropped about 8% in a single day. So, certainly, some uncertainty there. Certainly some uncertainty -- funny to say that.

But it's something that anyone investing in this industry is going to want to keep an eye on. And it just goes to show that investing in a pool of these solar companies might be one of the best ways to go about it, because as much growth as we've talked about in this industry, it's still very basic, it's a small percentage of overall global energy production and U.S. energy production. So, personally, I believe a basket of solar companies would be the best way to go. And I do believe this is an industry worth investing in.

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