Clean energy companies urge Congress to pass reconciliation package

Inside a JinkoSolar Smart Facility. Courtesy: JinkoSolar

More than 400 companies involved in clean energy are urging Congress to pass legislation that would provide billions for clean energy deployment.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), delivered a three-sentence message to President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“The solar, storage and other renewable energy industries are ready and available to help create a safer, cleaner, more affordable, and more secure energy future for all Americans. To make this possible, please pass the reconciliation tools. It’s time to get this done.”

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SEIA announced that the industry will participate in a “day” of action in Washington to push a reconciliation package. This package includes a long-term extension for the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), and a standalone credit of energy storage.

The trade group also calls for the approval the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act. The legislation, which was approved by the House last January, would provide incentives to domestic manufacturing across the entire solar supply chain.

“The time for rhetoric is over, and the only thing left is to cut a deal,” SEIA CEO Abby Ross Hopper said in a statement. “The solar and storage industry is motivated, mobilized, and ready to make our clean energy future a reality if Congress acts. It’s time.”

Biden granted the solar industry a window of two years to strengthen its supply chain by suspending new tariffs on modules from Southeast Asia.

The SEMA Act is a key step in building a U.S. supply chain of solar energy. Provisions of the bill were included in the Build Back Better Act— the now-defunct reconciliation package that Democrats in Congress are aiming to recharge.

SEMA would create tax incentives at 11c/watt for integrated modules, 4c/w for cells, and $12/sq. $3/kg polysilicon and a m. Production of non-integrated modules would be eligible for 7 c/w. Credits would also be given for the production of solar trackers or inverters.

Hopper talked about how the solar sector was able to convince Biden to suspend new tariffs for imported modules in a recent episode on Factor This! podcast.

Hanwha, a Korean solar giant, announced plans to create a “fully American” supply chain. (Photo courtesy: Hanwha)

The Dept. A petition from Auxin Solar, a San Jose-based module manufacturer, prompted the Dept. of Commerce to launch a probe. The company’s CEO, Mamun Rashid, believes modules imported from four Southeast Asian countries — Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Thailand — could be skirting trade duties against China.

Biden’s temporary pause gives the solar industry a reprieve, but Commerce’s investigation continues and could lead to additional tariffs. Experts estimate that it could take between 2 and 3 years to build a domestic supply chain for solar energy to meet U.S. demands.

According to a report by the International Energy Agency, China controls 80% in key manufacturing stages for solar module production. According to the International Energy Agency, China’s share of polysilicon supply and wafer supply could reach 95% within the next five years.