Solar cell tariff will 'jack up' prices for a while: Enel CEO

  • Francesco Starace said the U.S. decision to impose tariffs on imported solar cells was expected, but could have been worse

The U.S. decision to impose tariffs on imported solar cells will "jack up" the prices of solar panel installations for a "while", the CEO of European utility firm Enel said Tuesday.

In an announcement Monday, the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that President Donald Trump had approved recommendations to impose "safeguard tariffs" on both imported solar cells and modules as well as imported large residential washing machines.

The tariff for solar cells and modules will last for four years. In year one it will be 30 percent, and will then decrease by 5 percent each year, reaching 15 percent in year four.

Speaking to CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Enel Chief Executive Francesco Starace said the tariffs decision was expected — but could have been worse.

"The industry expected a little more… so it's not as hard and deep as it was expected or feared, depending on the points of view," he said.

Starace added that there would be "some slow down, but not a halt."