Update 02/04/2022: The House passed the COMPETES Act. The legislation now moves to the Senate.
The U.S. House of Representatives introduced this week the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength Act of 2022 (America COMPETES Act of 2022). The Act includes significant investment in boosting domestic manufacturing of solar components to “strengthen America’s economic and national security at home and abroad.”
“Right now, China and other bad actors are threatening our national security and global financial stability,” said Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters. “This is why The America COMPETES Act is commonsense, long overdue legislation that will finally hold countries like China accountable for the ways that they engage in illicit or aggressive activity to harm our nation’s financial system. With this bill, our country and our allies will be stronger and better suited to compete and push back against these attacks.”
In order to reduce the country’s reliance on the Chinese solar supply chain, the Act will invest in domestic solar component manufacturing. The Act authorizes $3 billion to fund the establishment of a domestic solar manufacturing supply chain. All solar component manufacturing is referenced in the language, not just solar cells and panels.
If passed by Congress, this legislation will direct the Sec. of Energy to establish a program to award grants and direct loans for the construction of new solar component manufacturing facilities and the retooling, retrofitting or expanding of existing facilities. Each year through 2026, the Dept. of Energy would be authorized to distribute $600 million. There are no exclusions in the current language — inverter, mounting system, thin-film panel, silicon panel, cell and wafer manufacturing facilities can take advantage.
“Major components of this package have already passed the House with overwhelmingly bipartisan votes, and we look forward to conferencing this bill with the Senate to get legislation to the President’s desk as soon as possible,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Now is the time to recommit to boldly and strategically investing in our nation’s future, and to do so in a way that strengthens the supply chain, lowers costs and ensures that America can out-compete any nation, today and for decades to come.”
Industry reaction to the Act:
“ACORE applauds the introduction of the America COMPETES Act, which authorizes billions of dollars to construct new solar manufacturing facilities and expand or upgrade existing facilities, and provides additional funding to reinforce grid security,” said Gregory Wetstone, President and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy. “The United States must prioritize the development of a 21st century domestic supply chain for solar technology and this legislation is a fundamental step. These investments will create thousands of good-paying renewable energy jobs, help the United States remain competitive in the rapidly growing global solar market and ensure the transition to clean energy through domestic production.”
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