US solar industry calls for domestic content rules to support manufacturing

Photovoltaics Markets and Technology

The newest report from the Photograph voltaic Vitality Producers for America Coalition (SEMA) reveals that with stronger assist inside the early ranges, US module producers would rely a lot much less on imports from Chinese language language-owned corporations for provides.

SEMA’s “Inflection Point: The State of  U.S. PV Solar Manufacturing & What’s Next” report shines a spotlight on the need for protection modifications to assist the US photograph voltaic present chain.

The US Inflation Low cost Act (IRA) has motivated photograph voltaic module producers to assemble manufacturing facilities within the USA. Nonetheless, only some factories are deliberate for the manufacturing of ingots, wafers, and cells. This shortage leaves US photograph voltaic module makers beholden to imports, primarily from China.



“Due to the efforts of Congress and the Administration, with the Inflation Low cost Act now we now have an opportunity to assemble a sustainable, sturdy American present chain for photograph voltaic that may be sure our nation isn’t relying on China for this significant energy helpful useful resource,” acknowledged SEMA Coalition Govt Director Mike Carr. “This report reveals that if we want a transparent energy future on this nation, we might require an unbroken whole-of-government effort that doesn’t allow our purchasing and promoting adversaries to derail the reshoring effort.”

The report factors out that China produces a whole lot of the polysilicon and wafers needed to make photograph voltaic modules, producing 99% of the world’s photograph voltaic wafers and greater than 80% of the world’s polysilicon. PV manufacturing advisory Exawatt, now a part of CRU Group, reported that the one notable ingot and wafer manufacturing hub outdoor of China is in Southeast Asia, with a functionality of 35 GW of wafer facilities, doubtlessly growing to 45 GW by the tip of 2024.

SEMA sees onshoring the whole photograph voltaic present chain as needed for energy security and it retains the US photograph voltaic enterprise from being affected by world present chain disruptions, as expert in the middle of the height of the pandemic. Furthermore, onshoring the whole present chain brings jobs and ensures bigger labor necessities are utilized, together with the usage of cleaner manufacturing methods.

The IRA consists of tax credit score rating adders for residence content material materials; nonetheless, it moreover excludes the origin of polysilicon and wafers. The SEMA report requires policymakers to set “sturdy necessities for getting a bonus tax credit score for using residence content material materials and federal procurement to incentivize funding inside the high-value, capital-intensive components of the supply chain equal to wafer and polysilicon manufacturing.” The report authors see the need to implement the Uyghur Pressured Labor Prevention Act and anti-dumping commerce authorized tips, which they declare are important to stage the having fun with self-discipline for residence producers.

Image: Guidehouse Insights

Together with protection modifications and commerce regulation enforcement, SEMA recommends that the US authorities set an occasion by insisting that any vitality producers from which the federal authorities procures energy can purchase photograph voltaic modules with US-made elements.

“Photograph voltaic producers in America are working successfully beneath their full potential because of the federal authorities facilitating an over-reliance on China and failing to produce a stage having fun with self-discipline to help gasoline funding and innovation,” acknowledged Carr. “The CHIPS Act and the IRA had been game-changing inside the devices they supplied to the Administration, nonetheless, they should use the devices to their full influence to interrupt China’s monopoly by onshoring the entire photograph voltaic present chain.”

The US photograph voltaic present chain is in its early ranges with polysilicon facilities at current in Michigan, Tennessee, and Washington, which the SEMA report says might produce adequate polysilicon to make about 20 GW of crystalline silicon merchandise yearly. Nonetheless, the nation has few facilities to make ingots, wafers, and cells.


“These manufacturing steps are primarily probably the most capital intensive however among the many many least incentivized utilizing the provisions inside the IRA,” the report notes.

With stronger assist from the early ranges of the strategy, US module producers may very well be a lot much less depending on imports from Chinese language language-owned corporations for these provides.

Alongside Qcells and Norsun, Convalt Vitality, which manufactures wafers within the USA, CubicPV, and India’s Vikram Photograph voltaic have launched plans to rearrange shops inside the nation. Whether or not or not the launched factories will come to fruition or not is in question. Exawatt Head of PV Alex Barrows is skeptical.

“I really feel we’ll get a bit [of ingot and wafer capacity] inside the U.S. nonetheless nowhere near what has been launched,” acknowledged Barrows. “Thirty-five gigawatts of functionality by the tip of 2026 has been launched, nonetheless, I’d suspect it is additional most likely that 15 GW to twenty GW will probably be put in.”

Suniva is one agency that plans to begin producing photograph voltaic cells in its plant in Georgia, and Heliene merely signed a three-year contract with Suniva, with plans for made-in-America modules. Suniva is restarting a producing facility it idled in 2017 when it declared chapter, claiming it could not compete with low-cost photograph voltaic imports. SolarWorld joined Suniva in submitting the Half 201 commerce petition that prompted the Trump administration to impose duties in 2018 on imported photograph voltaic cells and panels for 4 years.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited the Suniva manufacturing facility simply recently, changing into a member of the SEMA Coalition, which is asking the Biden administration to stage the having fun with self-discipline for the photograph voltaic enterprise by growing the definition of what makes up residence content material materials to include the upstream provides.

“We will not have a sustainable photograph voltaic manufacturing sector on this nation until we break China’s monopoly on wafer present, which gives cell producers no choices,” acknowledged Carr. “As meant by the congressional authors of the IRA in recent letters, the Treasury ought to interrupt this monopoly and spur US wafer manufacturing by refining their steering for the IRA’s residence content material materials bonus. We hope they do it shortly.”

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