Biden administration announces $56 million for U.S. solar manufacturing

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $56 million in funding to boost the manufacturing and recycling of solar power in the United States.

Of those funds, $10 million will come from President Joe Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

The money is expected to provide a much-needed boost to the US solar panel manufacturing industry, as approximately 90% of US solar panels are currently made overseas.

The U.S. solar industry has struggled due to supply chain issues, disruptions stemming from the U.S. Commerce Department’s investigation into whether Southeast Asian solar cell makers are using parts made in China that would normally be subject to a tariff, and now from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) opposing the expansion of solar incentives.

In early June, Biden authorized the Defense Production Act to boost solar manufacturing in the United States. He also announced a two-year suspension of tariffs on Southeast Asian solar panels, allowing the DOC investigation to continue while preventing the probe from shutting down the U.S. solar industry.

The $56 million funding opportunity will fall into two general categories:

  • $29 million for FY22 photovoltaic (PV) research and development funding to support projects that increase the reuse and recycling of solar technologies. The money will also support projects aimed at developing photovoltaic module designs that reduce manufacturing costs, as well as those that advance the manufacture of perovskite-based photovoltaic cells.
  • $27 million for the FY22 solar manufacturing incubator to commercialize new technologies that can increase private investment in solar manufacturing in the United States. This includes increasing production of solar panels made from cadmium telluride that does not rely on solar-grade polysilicon, a raw material made primarily in China.

Garrett Nilsen, acting director of the DOE’s Office of Solar Energy Technologies, said [via Reuters]:

It is necessary that we take the necessary steps to ensure that we can be as self-sufficient as possible.

Not only to achieve decarbonization goals, but also to ensure that we are as insulated as possible from any further global trade disruptions that may arise.

The Biden administration also approved the 125-mile (200 km) Ten West Link transmission line between Tonopah, Arizona, and Blythe, California. The line will support the development of solar energy projects in the southwest.

Read more: The real reason Joe Manchin is sabotaging America’s clean energy plan

Photo by Kindel Media at Pexels.com


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