In early June, the Biden Administration authorized the Defense Production Act, which addresses incentives for the U.S. solar industry. Now, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $56 million in funding to boost PV manufacturing and recycling in the country. This funding is expected to provide a much-needed boost to the U.S. photovoltaic industry, although the bipartisan infrastructure bill only provides $10 million.
Electrek noted that imports currently account for about 90 percent of the U.S. PV panel market, and as a result have been severely dragged down by supply chain issues in recent years.
In an effort to transition to local manufacturing, the U.S. Department of Commerce has previously reviewed whether Southeast Asian PV manufacturers are using Chinese-made components that would be charged high tariffs.
On the other hand, the group represented by Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is strongly opposing the expansion of incentives for the PV energy industry.
In early June, Biden authorized the Defense Production Act to stimulate the U.S.-based solar industry. Also to avoid putting the industry in a bind during the DOC investigation, the administration announced a two-year moratorium on tariffs on photovoltaic panels from Southeast Asia.
As for the use of the $56 million in incentive funds, there are two main areas. First, $29 million will be allocated for PV R&D funding in the fiscal year 2022 to support projects that enhance the reuse and recycling of solar technologies.
In addition, this funding will support research and development for PV modular design projects that reduce manufacturing costs and facilitate manufacturing projects for calcium titanium ore-based PV cells.
Second, another $27 million will be used for a PV manufacturing incubator program in fiscal 2022 to expand private investment and drive the commercialization of new solar technologies.
This includes increasing the production of cadmium telluride-based solar panels to bypass the Chinese PV industry’s more dominant PV-grade polysilicon route.
Garrett Nilsen, acting director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Solar Energy Technologies, said in an interview with Reuters.
We need to take the necessary steps to ensure that we are as self-sufficient as possible. This is not only to achieve the goal of decarbonization but also to ensure that we can stay as far away from potential global trade disruptions as possible.
Finally, the Biden administration also approved the 125-mile (200-kilometer) 10 West Link transmission line from Tonopah, Arizona, to Blythe, California, to support the development of solar projects in the U.S. Southwest.