A flurry of new announcements by manufacturers is revealing a huge turnaround in the U.S. solar energy industry: a massive solar production boom is underway. This is a major change for energy security and jobs and will ensure that the US solar and storage industry has a reliable supply of solar equipment as it grows from nearly 5% of the country’s electricity mix to a fundamental part of the US energy supply.
A year ago, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) revealed that companies were waiting in the wings, ready to invest in domestic manufacturing with the right market signals and the right policies.
Now, with new incentives and a comprehensive industrial policy, they are taking action.
Already, dozens of companies in the solar energy supply chain have made more than 40 domestic production announcements worth more than $13 billion. To date, companies have announced 47 gigawatts (GW) of module production capacity and more than 100 gigawatt-hours of battery production. Between solar components, power electronics and battery storage, the US solar and storage supply chain will add more than 437 GW/GWh of new generating capacity if the proposed announcements and expansions become a reality.
Regionally, Georgia, South Carolina and Ohio are rapidly becoming hubs for solar energy production, and Americans in these states will see much more job opportunities and local investment in their communities.
There has been a deluge of major module manufacturing announcements over the past seven months. For example, companies such as Mission Solar and Toledo Solar recently announced that they will invest in domestic module production capacity in the United States.
As domestic module production increases, demand for upstream U.S.-made components such as cells, wafers, and ingots will grow with it. Already, Enel, QcellsAnd Silfab have announced efforts to produce solar cells in the United States, and ingot wafer manufacturers are also preparing for domestic capacity.
Similar efforts are being made to create components essential for utility-scale and rooftop solar installations, such as inverters and trackers. Manufacturer of inverters Enphase moves forward with US production, and tracker manufacturers love it nexttracker, OMCOAnd Alpha steel are preparing for even greater growth as panel production scales up.
The wave of new manufacturing announcements means greater job opportunities for American workers. Manufacturing has the largest job multiplier of any segment in the US economy. Each factory job creates additional employment in other industries such as sales and purchasing, marketing, accounting, human resources, warehousing, logistics and more. In addition, new factories help revitalize local economies, giving restaurants and small businesses a new customer base.
SEIA estimates that by 2032 solar energy and storage production workforce will grow to 115,000 Americans and lead to more than 507,000 jobs across the industry.
The production boom is transforming the landscape of US solar energy production. Domestic production incentives and long-term market security are driving companies into action, along with the need to diversify supply chains amid the Covid pandemic, semiconductor shortages and ongoing global conflict. SEIA estimates that within 3-5 years, domestic production capacity will reach critical massalthough many factories and facilities will open before that.
In 2021, SEIA’s goal to create 50 GW of domestic production capacity in 2030 seemed far-fetched, but now that goal is within reach. With the right policies and renewed market certainty, the United States is well on its way to becoming the most competitive and collaborative solar and storage industry in the world.
By means of SEIA communications team
I don’t like paywalls. You don’t like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a restricted paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong – and it was always hard to decide what to put behind that. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then less people will read it! We just don’t like paywalls so we decided to drop ours.
Unfortunately, the media business is still a hard, cut-throat business with small margins. It’s a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay afloat or maybe even — gasping for breath – to grow. So …