Rep. Demings introduces bill to boost solar energy manufacturing

Published on September 29, 2021 by Dave Kovaleski

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U.S. Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) introduced legislation in the House of Representatives on Sept. 22 to invest in U.S.-based solar energy component manufacturing.

The bill, Reclaiming the Solar Supply Chain Act, H.R. 5332, would provide funding to eligible entities for construction of new facilities that manufacture solar components. It would also provide funding for entities involved in retooling, retrofitting, or expanding existing facilities that manufacture solar components.

The bill authorizes $700 million each fiscal year from 2022 to 2026 with priority given to manufacturers that provide the greatest potential for domestic job creation and economic development in economically distressed regions. Demings, the lead sponsor, said manufacturing related to solar power could create up to 1.5 million new jobs in the United States by 2035.

“Green energy means jobs, but right now solar manufacturing jobs are being dominated by China. My new legislation would make long-overdue investments in U.S.-based solar manufacturing, creating good new jobs and bringing down the cost of renewable energy as we fight to slow down climate change,” Demings said.

Reps. Mike Doyle (D-PA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) are cosponsors on the bill.

“As we continue to build a cleaner energy system, we should ensure that its components are being built here in America. Currently, foreign competitors are dominating the manufacture of solar panels and in some cases using forced labor to do so,” Doyle said.

Solar manufacturing globally is currently dominated by China, the lawmakers said. Meanwhile, they added, Senate Republicans are working to strip renewable energy funding from the infrastructure package, Demings said.

“In Michigan, manufacturing is our bread and butter, and we have the potential to be a global leader in clean energy manufacturing, in particular. This bill will make it easier to build cutting-edge solar technology right here at home, and in the process, it will create good-paying jobs and help the U.S. maintain a competitive edge over countries like China,” Slotkin said.

The bill is supported by the Ultra Low Carbon Solar Alliance, the Sierra Club, and the Environmental Defense Fund, among others.