Have you tried to buy an American made TV? Very tough to do – in fact, impossible. There are things that we simply no longer manufacture in the US because of the high cost of manufacturing here, and the very low cost of container shipping.
We do still manufacture solar panels here, but not many, and they are more expensive than the imports. So the Biden administration faced a quandary: have no new tariffs on foreign solar panels, which would keep costs low and increase adoption, or put on a tariff, which would raise costs, slow adoption, but help American manufacturers. I don’t envy them having to make that decision – because there is no right answer. However – there is a right answer for the climate: no new tariffs. And that is the choice that they have made.
What does this mean for health systems: Get to work. 10 percent of health system emissions come from electricity use. It is the largest single source of emissions. Switching to renewables is the fast, easiest, and highest ROI decision you can make. While the payoff is different in every state, typically solar systems pay off in 8 years, and then you have your electricity for free after that. And by shifting to solar you shift electricity from an operational cost, to a capital cost – increasing your operating margins.
While a full transition to electricity requires working with a utility – as Kaiser Permanente, Boston Medical Center, Intermountain Health and others have done – you can make gains simply by installing solar panels on your roof, on your parking garage, and on arrays on your campus. Act now, and take advantage of this 2 year window of no increased tariffs.
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