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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Competition in the global solar industry is ramping up in the wake of President Trump imposing tariffs on panel imports earlier this year.

Why it matters: Before the administration issued the tariffs, most of the American solar industry predicted it would hurt U.S. solar jobs, many of which are based on installing cheap solar panels from places like China. Two interviews with top executives at American and Chinese solar companies offer a glimpse into how these countries are positioning to thrive amid the tariffs.

Highlights from my interviews:

1) Tom Werner, CEO of SunPower, which is based in California but majority owned by French oil and gas company Total:

Q. SunPower just announced it’s acquiring SolarWorld, one of the solar manufacturers that petitioned for the tariffs. Couldn’t one argue the tariffs are having the intended effect, to encourage U.S.-based manufacturing?

I’ll answer that and say yes. This [SolarWorld purchase] is catalyzed by the tariffs and by the administration’s desire for American solar manufacturing. It was my concession and SunPower board agreed with me, that it was appropriate for us to take a leadership position and swim with the current with the administration.

Q. Are you worried Chinese companies are going to innovate or circumvent to blunt the impacts of these tariffs on their panel products, as they have done in the past?

Only the paranoid survive. SunPower is very paranoid. We need to run like hell and innovate.

2) Max Xia, vice president of overseas marketing at LONGi Solar, one of China’s largest solar companies, on the sidelines of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference earlier this month in New York:

Q. What kind of impact will the tariffs have on your investments in the U.S.?

We will decide by December whether to invest in a plant here. We have started looking at several sites in the USA.
We think for the solar market in the USA, don’t worry about the tariffs. We bring the solution to offset this impact. And so please release the news to the market.

Q. How do you see the type of power you use to make your solar panels changing?

Currently it’s 90% coal. One or two years later, 50% will be hydropower. [Longer term] we try to jump to solar power.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Report: Pentagon watchdog finds Ronny Jackson drank on duty and harassed staff

Rep. Ronny Jackson walking through the Canon Tunnel to the U.S. Capitol in January. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) allegedly made "sexual and denigrating" comments about a female staffer, drank alcohol and took sleeping medication while working as White House physician, according to a report obtained by CNN Tuesday night.

Driving the news: The Department of Defense inspector general's report stems from a years-long investigation. Jackson has called the allegations "false and fabricated."

DOJ pressed to enforce Al Jazeera foreign agent ruling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Justice Department is being pressed to enforce its own demand that the U.S. arm of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera register as a foreign agent.

Why it matters: The launch of Al Jazeera's new right-of-center U.S. media venture, Rightly, has refocused attention on the media company's alleged links to Doha, and DOJ's efforts to crack down on media outlets viewed as foreign interest mouthpieces.

Poll: Immigration is America's most-polarizing issue

Data: The American Aspirations Index/Populace; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Immigration was found to be the most polarizing issue in America based on new polling from Populace.

Why it matters: Americans have surprisingly similar priorities for the U.S., but immigration stands out as one of the few issues with clear partisan differences. It underscores the challenge for advocates and lawmakers hoping to pass immigration reform in the coming weeks amid narrow margins in Congress.