The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has released a roadmap with near- and long-term steps to dramatically scale America’s solar manufacturing sector now that the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act (SEMA) has passed as part of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
The whitepaper Catalyzing American Solar Manufacturing outlines how the solar/storage industry can benefit from this policy support and create a manufacturing base which is cost-competitive and meets sufficient demand. It also supports a strong workforce. It also gives a snapshot of the market as well as an analysis of how SEMA or other provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act could help scale domestic production.
“For the first time, the United States has industrial policy in place that will usher in a new era of clean energy manufacturing,” says Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “This roadmap is a blueprint for strategically growing America’s clean energy supply chain and supporting the companies that have committed to U.S. production once the reconciliation package becomes law. If we follow the recommendations in the paper, we can grow the U.S. solar manufacturing workforce and put the solar and storage industry on a path to secure, sustainable and equitable growth for decades to come.”
Global instability and supply chain challenges over the last few years underscore the importance of domestic production and the need to reach SEIA’s goal of 50 GW U.S. solar manufacturing capacity by 2030. New production capacity can significantly reduce shipping and import costs. This will protect the U.S. storage and solar industry from global supply disruptions and ensure the safety and reliability the electric grid.
Once SEMA is in place the roadmap recommends manufacturers to consider demand and timing for products and focus their attention first on downstream production. This means that domestic module production should be expanded so that there is a demand for domestic ingots and cells. The paper highlights that domestic manufacturing can grow as the IRA dramatically increases demand for solar and storage products in the near term, but that this capacity must be increased over a long period of time.
Thoughtful industrial policies and a long-term strategy for domestic manufacturing are key to strengthening America’s energy security and creating hundreds of thousands of high-quality manufacturing jobs.
This roadmap is part of a series of papers that will address emerging opportunities and challenges in the solar and storage industries. The next report will be about building a strong U.S. manufacturing base to produce energy storage equipment.
You can read the whitepaper on the roadmap here.