The number of jobs in the US solar industry dropped by 3.2% in 2018.

According to an industry report released on Tuesday, February 12th, the number of jobs in the U.S. solar industry dropped for second year in a row.

The Solar Jobs Census, released annually by the non-profit research firm The Solar Foundation, stated that the number of solar energy workers fell by 8,000 to 242,000 in 2018 following a loss of 10,000 jobs in 2017.

But jobs are expected to rise next year, at least that’s what the report says.

The causes for the drop

In early 2018, President Donald Trump imposed 30% tariffs on imported solar panels to boost domestic manufacturing, slowly engaging in a wide-ranging trade war that has harshly hit demand for installations.

The move led developers to cancel or freeze billions of dollars of investments in large-installation projects because most of the solar panels used in the United States are made abroad, causing job losses that reflect how changing trade and environmental policies are practiced among the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. energy industry.

A toll on manufacturing

On the manufacturing side, there is little evidence so far of a boost.

Jobs in the industry’s manufacturing sector – a small slice of the overall industry – fell 8% in 2018, according to the report.

Policies of U.S. states are also critical to solar growth, and changes in incentives and rates for projects in large markets led to job losses there, according to the report.

The Solar Foundation said it expects a rebound in jobs of 7% next year, however, due to recent declines in solar panel prices that have made them more affordable.

China last year slashed subsidies for solar installations, unleashing a flood of low-cost Chinese-made panels onto the international market and pushing prices below what they were before the tariffs were imposed.

Installation will receive the biggest bump, more than 9%, the report said, while manufacturing will rise 4%, the report said.