Solar energy has emerged as a vital player in the quest for sustainable and clean energy solutions across the globe. Yet while the American solar industry is experiencing vast growth, the majority of today’s solar panels are manufactured in China. As a result, there is a growing movement to bring solar manufacturing back to American soil to decrease dependence on foreign energy sources and create more jobs in the United States.
Current Solar Manufacturing: Dominance, Workers’ Rights, and Trade Tariffs
As it stands, around 80% of all solar cells and assembled solar panels are manufactured in China. The country also produces 97% of the world’s solar wafers. Reducing dependency on China has thus become a top priority in order for the US to achieve energy independence and security while striving to reach net-zero goals. China’s dominance also raises concerns regarding workers’ rights and environmental sustainability. Many Chinese manufacturers have faced scrutiny for poor labor conditions and lax environmental regulations.
For these reasons, in 2011, the US began imposing tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports, which were suffocating US manufacturers because of their extremely low costs. Nevertheless, in efforts to boost the US solar industry, the Biden administration announced in 2022 that it would waive tariffs on solar panels imported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam for 24 months, reducing uncertainty for the U.S. solar energy companies. This measure faced criticism from some who believe that the solar panels coming from these countries are really Chinese products with a misleading country of origin certification.
Biden Bringing Solar Manufacturing Home: Boosting Jobs and Energy Independence
Recognizing the need to reduce reliance on foreign energy sources and create more domestic jobs, President Biden has prioritized reshoring solar manufacturing. By bringing manufacturing back to the United States through clean energy incentives, the solar industry can create a substantial number of jobs (85,000 in 10 years, according to SEIA), contributing to economic growth. The administration aims to diversify the country’s energy mix and reduce reliance on foreign energy sources, bolstering energy security and insulating American families from the volatile price shifts of global oil markets.
Meeting Climate Goals: The Role of Asian Solar Panels and the Need for Domestic Manufacturing
To meet climate goals and transition to renewable energy sources, the United States currently relies on China’s inexpensive solar panels. Until domestic manufacturing can be ramped up significantly, discontinuing the purchase of Asian panels would result in the loss of many renewable energy projects and related job opportunities. This was Biden’s argument for vetoing recent legislation that would reinstate tariffs on certain solar panels. His administration says that buying solar panels from China in the short term is necessary to make good on the president’s efforts to mitigate climate change. In other words, a transitional period is needed to build American solar manufacturing capabilities, ensuring a smooth and sustainable shift towards domestically produced solar panels.
Solar Jobs for Americans: Beyond Manufacturing
In addition to manufacturing, the solar industry creates job opportunities across various other sectors. Installers, technicians, designers, and engineers are among the professionals needed to support the fast-growing industry. The installation and maintenance of solar panels requires a skilled workforce, contributing to job growth in communities throughout the country. Embracing solar energy thus opens up avenues for economic prosperity and career development for American workers.
Boosting the Economy and Personal Finances: The Benefits of Going Solar
Going solar not only bolsters the American economy by creating jobs, it’s also an investment in citizens’ health and future. By transitioning to renewable energy, the United States can reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, leading to improved air quality and environmental sustainability. Furthermore, adopting solar energy can significantly reduce electricity bills for homeowners and businesses, resulting in long-term financial savings.
Moreover, the Biden administration’s clean energy incentives, such as the federal solar tax credit, make it even more affordable for individuals and organizations to go solar. This incentive allows for a 30% reduction in the upfront costs of solar panel installation, making solar a more appealing and financially viable option for many.
NATiVE Solar: A Full Service Solar Provider
Locally owned and operated, NATiVE Solar is committed to delivering profitable and intelligent solar solutions to Texas homeowners. Our commitment is to customer experience and sustainability by utilizing best in class technology, optimized financing, customized design, and sophisticated and trustworthy operations, maintenance and monitoring.
If understanding the benefits of solar has swayed you into considering gaining personal independence from electric providers and the aging Texas grid, look no further. NATiVE has over 15 years of experience in the industry and can help answer any questions you might have related to going solar. Save money, boost the economy, help make the grid more resilient, and make an investment into the health of the planet and future generations by going solar! #TakeYourPowerBack with NATiVE Solar.