Biden Administration Moves to Boost Solar Manufacturing Capacity

June 7, 2022

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
June 7, 2022

The Biden Administration on June 6 said it would authorize the use of the Defense Production Act and leverage federal procurement to boost domestic solar energy technology production.

With respect to procurement, Biden directed the development of two tools:

  • Master Supply Agreements for domestically manufactured solar systems to increase the speed and efficiency with which domestic clean electricity providers can sell their products to the U.S. government; and
  • So-called “Super Preferences” to apply domestic content standards for federal procurement of solar systems, including domestically manufactured solar photovoltaic components, consistent with the Buy American Act.

According to a White House fact sheet, these federal procurement measures can stimulate demand for up to a gigawatt of domestically produced solar modules in the near term, and up to 10 gigawatts over the next decade from U.S. government demand alone.

To further increase the impact of these actions, the Biden Administration will also partner with state and local governments and municipal utilities in these innovative arrangements, increasing the potential market impact over the next decade to as much as over 100 gigawatts.

Defense Production Act

President Biden also authorized the Department of Energy to use the Defense Production Act to rapidly expand American manufacturing of five technologies:

  • Solar panel parts like photovoltaic modules and module components;
  • Building insulation;
  • Heat pumps;
  • Equipment for making and using clean electricity-generated fuels, including electrolyzers, fuel cells, and related platinum group metals; and
  • Critical power grid infrastructure like transformers

24-Month Bridge For Solar Imports

President Biden also used his powers to create a 24-month bridge for certain solar imports, the fact sheet noted.

Specifically, the President is temporarily facilitating U.S. solar deployers’ ability to source solar modules and cells from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam by providing that those components can be imported free of certain duties for 24 months.

This will ensure the U.S. has access to a sufficient supply of solar modules to meet electricity generation needs while domestic manufacturing scales up, the White House said.