More than 260,000 Americans work in the solar industry. About 2,000 of those employed are part of making solar panels and likely to benefit from the tariffs announced this week by the Trump White House. The remaining workers in the sector? The fallout promises to be less favorable for them as prices increase and production slows.

The tariff regime calls for a 30 percent tax, in effect, on imported panels to start, falling to 15 percent in the fourth year. As it is, 95 percent of the panels used here come from countries such as Malaysia and South Korea. Will the president’s action save jobs among American makers who sought help (one with a Chinese majority owner)? Or lead to gaining a larger share of the market?

Analysts project some benefits for domestic manufacturers, though they warn that the challenge of cheap imports driven by lower wages will not change.

The Solar Energy Industries Association highlights the complication. It argues that whatever slight gains for one segment, the sector as a whole will suffer, forecasting the loss of 23,000 jobs overall next year. Which gets to how trade policy works. Rare is the approach that benefits everyone. The test becomes finding the way that benefits overall, more people gaining than set back.

Unfortunately, the Trump approach misses the mark.

Where are most Americans employed in the $28 billion solar industry? They are making the steel racks (many produced in Ohio) that support the panels. They are installing, operating and maintaining the systems, often arrayed in vast solar farms.

It follows that increasing the price of solar panels, which are one third or somewhat less of the overall cost, will have a ripple effect as orders and investment are put off, even canceled. That puts at risk jobs and growth across the sector. The tariff decision seems especially unwise when the industry here has been adding jobs at 17 times the pace of the whole economy.

This seems a classic case of harm the many to protect the few.

That harm goes beyond the many solar companies and their employees. A reduction in projects translates to taking less advantage of the clean power solar provides, diminishing the effort to curb mounting climate change.

A key factor in the rapid expansion of solar power has been its more competitive price, declining 30 percent the past two years. A leading contributor to the trend has been those cheaper solar panels. Consider that solar installations have leaped ahead, from one gigawatt at the start of the decade to 12 gigawatts today.

The worry isn’t that the industry will come to a halt. Rather, it goes to seeing reduced growth of roughly 10 percent, according to some analyses, the presence of solar narrowed.

President Trump counts at least as a skeptic of climate change. His administration, via policies and appointments, appears eager to serve the interests of the oil and gas industry, not to mention those of coal. His tariffs on solar power fit the discouraging pattern.

Who doesn’t favor strong enforcement of trade rules? Countries in violation should be held accountable. At the same time, global trade is far from a simple proposition, or easily evaluated according to the size of a country’s trade deficit or surplus.

Whether it is washing machines, steel or aluminum, areas in which the president has delivered tariffs or pledges to do so, care must be taken in weighing the full range of consequences. In the matter of solar panels, that hasn’t been the approach. The president has put jobs and investment at risk. He misses the urgency in clean energy.