The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $56 million in funding to boost US solar manufacturing and recycling.
Of those funds, $10 million will come from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
That money should provide a much-needed boost to the US solar manufacturing industry as around 90% of US solar panels are currently made overseas.
The US solar industry has experienced difficulties due to supply chain problems, disruptions resulting from the US Department of Commerce investigation into whether Southeast Asian solar cell manufacturers are using parts made in China that would normally be subject to a tariff, and now Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) opposition to expanding solar incentives.
At the beginning of June, Biden authorized the Defense Production Act to spur US solar manufacturing. He also announced a two-year suspension of tariffs on Southeast Asian solar panels, thus allowing the DOC investigation to continue yet avoiding the investigation bringing the US solar industry to a halt.
The $56 million in funding opportunities will be broken down into two general categories:
- $29 million for FY22 Photovoltaics (PV) Research and Development funding to support projects that increase the reuse and recycling of solar technologies. The money will also support projects to develop PV module designs that reduce manufacturing costs, as well as those that advance the manufacturing of PV cells made from perovskites.
- $27 million for the FY22 Solar Manufacturing Incubator aimed at commercializing new technologies that can expand private investment in US solar manufacturing. That includes boosting production of solar panels made from cadmium telluride that doesn’t rely on solar-grade polysilicon, a raw material made primarily in China.
Garrett Nilsen, acting director for DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, said [via Reuters]:
It’s necessary that we take the steps to ensure that we can be as self-sufficient as possible.
Not only for hitting decarbonization goals, but also just to make sure that we are as insulated as possible from any other global trade disruptions that might take place.
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 solar energy project development in the Southwest.
Read more: The real reason Joe Manchin is sabotaging the US clean energy plan
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