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 new whitepaper, Catalyzing American Solar Manufacturing, outlines how the solar and storage industry can capitalize on this policy support and build a manufacturing base that is cost-competitive, ensures sufficient demand and supports a strong, diverse workforce. It also provides a snapshot of the current market landscape as well as analysis of how SEMA and other provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act can 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 dramatically reduce shipping and import costs, which will insulate the U.S. solar and storage industry from global supply disruption and help secure the safety and reliability of the electric grid.
Once SEMA is in place, the roadmap recommends that manufacturers consider demand and timing for their products and focus their attention on downstream production first. This includes expanding domestic module manufacturing first so there is existing demand for domestic cells, ingots and wafers once these products become available. The paper emphasizes that domestic manufacturing can grow in the near-term as the IRA dramatically scales up demand for solar and storage products, but that capacity must be scaled up over a period of several years.
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 the first report in a series of papers that will focus on emerging opportunities and challenges for the solar and storage industry. The next report will focus on building a robust U.S. manufacturing base for energy storage equipment.
Read the roadmap whitepaper here.