Energy Department invests $45M to bolster US solar manufacturing

Source: By Megan Ruggles, Utility Dive • Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Dive Brief:

  • The Biden administration announced $45 million to support U.S. manufacturing of solar components last week, reducing reliance on imports as it works to reshore solar production.
  • The Energy Department will fund up to 12 projects to help establish a network of domestic manufacturers focused on supplying key materials along the value chain, including polysilicon production, silicon ingots and wafers, solar cells and equipment, according to a news release.
  • Funding will also support the development of new dual-use solar technologies to create new markets. Concept papers are due Sept. 27.

Dive Insight:

More than 40 announcements in domestic solar operations have been made since August — when the Inflation Reduction Act was passed.

As solar companies expand or establish domestic operations in the wake of the IRA, some have devised plans to build out complete solar supply chains in the U.S. to reduce foreign dependence.

Production of components along the value chain is currently concentrated in China, which the Energy Department noted in a February report poses “significant supply risk.” This is due to friction with China related to forced labor, production slowdowns due to COVID-19, as well as increased competition for shipping capacity, according to the report.

To manage risk and achieve a robust solar manufacturing sector, the U.S. must transition away from majority imported solar products, according to the department.

The Energy Department announced a $52 million funding opportunity in April to strengthen the domestic solar supply chain.