The September 2023 Solar Power World Digital Edition is sponsored by CPS North America | Chint Power Global
A high-profile summer for the solar industry
When the IRA was passed in 2022, it was pretty clear the solar industry was going to play an important role in this presidential administration. But seeing the president and vice president attend new solar factory openings over the summer to highlight their accomplishments really underscored that point.
In June, Vice President Kamala Harris attended an event at Qcells’ solar panel factory in Dalton, Georgia, to announce a deal between Qcells and community solar developer Summit Ridge Energy. Summit Ridge and Qcells entered a 1.2-GW module supply agreement that will boost community solar in the United States using mostly American-made panels.
“Since taking office, our administration has made the largest investment in solar energy in our nation’s history,” Harris said in Georgia. “We’ve strengthened domestic supply chains to make sure America has reliable access to parts and material to build a clean energy technology and economy. We provided tax credits to encourage companies to buy solar panels made in America. And we invested billions more to build and expand factories like this one.”
Following Vice President Harris’ visit, Enphase announced a special guest at its big U.S. manufacturing press conference in West Columbia, South Carolina. President Joe Biden joined the inverter maker in July to kick off a contract manufacturing partnership with Flex to make U.S. microinverters.
“Since I took office, we’ve seen over 60 domestic manufacturing announcements all across the solar supply chain,” Biden said at the event. “By 2035, all electricity in America is going to be generated by clean energy — that’s a big deal.”
The IRA’s tax credits have indeed prompted a rush of U.S. solar manufacturing moves. In the past few months, solar panel and cell factory announcements have steadily rolled in, from Meyer Burger, Heliene, Canadian Solar and others. Mounting manufacturers too, like Nextracker and Array Technologies, have been expanding U.S. operations; while inverter announcements are lagging. It’s too soon to tell if some of these announcements will come to fruition, but the momentum is clear.
Another sign of a booming industry — this year’s biggest solar conference, RE+ in Las Vegas, is expecting another record-setting year, with upwards of 27,000 attendees. The solar industry is in this position thanks in large part to the IRA.
In this issue, we put together a special RE+ preview of the new products coming to the show floor at The Venetian Convention & Expo Center and Caesars Forum. We also have stories about the other solar components helping contractors reach domestic content bonus requirements, and where the IRA stands on its one-year anniversary.
It’s an exciting time to work in solar, and Team SPW is looking forward to catching up with many of you in person at RE+!