Senators Warnock, Ossoff Call on Administration to Boost Federal Solar Power Procurement

In new letter, the Georgia Senators urged the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to close loopholes in the federal solar procurement process to better support American solar manufacturers
Lawmakers: “We write regarding our shared goal to build a clean energy future here in the United States and in strong support of executive action to benefit Georgia’s solar manufacturers and workers”
ICYMI: Senators Reverend Warnock, Ossoff, Introduce Legislation to Rapidly Boost American Solar Manufacturing

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, in a new letter, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) joined U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) in calling on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to close loopholes in the federal solar procurement process which—in its current form—hurts American solar manufacturers. The closure of this loophole would help expand the domestic solar manufacturing supply chain and would bolster U.S. competitiveness and domestic clean energy production.


“As the world rapidly transitions to a clean energy future, countries such as China have employed a broad range of domestic manufacturing policies to capitalize on increasing demand for low-carbon energy technology,” wrote the lawmakers. “China currently dominates the global solar supply chain, presenting challenges for clean energy companies in the United States and hindering the development of domestic manufacturing opportunities. For domestic solar manufacturers to compete and establish a strong U.S.-based solar supply chain with good-paying clean energy manufacturing jobs, the federal government must enact strategic, targeted policies that support U.S. solar manufacturers.”

The Georgia lawmakers are committed to the growing solar manufacturing industry in the state and are working tirelessly to secure the state’s standing as a top solar manufacturer. Dalton, Ga. is home to Q CELLS, which is the largest solar manufacturing plant in the Western Hemisphere.

The lawmakers continued: “For these reasons, we ask that you take action to extend Buy American principles to third-party purchases of solar modules used in power purchase agreements that primarily serve federal facilities. This action would ensure that the federal government’s procurement of clean energy not only supports our collective goals to tackle the climate crisis, but also supports good-paying American solar manufacturing jobs such as those based in Georgia.”

See the full text of the letter here and below.

Dear Acting Director Young,

We write regarding our shared goal to build a clean energy future here in the United States and in strong support of executive action to benefit Georgia’s solar manufacturers and workers. Specifically, we request that the administration take and facilitate action to extend Buy American principles to third-party purchases of solar modules used in power purchase agreements that primarily serve federal facilities.

As the world rapidly transitions to a clean energy future, countries such as China have employed a broad range of domestic manufacturing policies to capitalize on increasing demand for low-carbon energy technology. China currently dominates the global solar supply chain, presenting challenges for clean energy companies in the United States and hindering the development of domestic manufacturing opportunities. For domestic solar manufacturers to compete and establish a strong U.S.-based solar supply chain with good-paying clean energy manufacturing jobs, the federal government must enact strategic, targeted policies that support U.S. solar manufacturers.

To help achieve this goal, we introduced S. 2140, the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act (SEMA). This legislation will establish new manufacturing tax incentives to bolster American solar manufacturing. It is our goal that this legislation will incentivize solar manufacturing across Georgia and the rest of the country, thereby creating tens of thousands of domestic jobs throughout the solar technology supply chain.

Along with the passage of our legislation, we believe that domestic manufacturers will benefit from extending Buy American principles to third-party purchases of solar modules. Actions from the Biden-Harris Administration, including Executive Order 14005 signed on January 25, 2021 to strengthen Buy America and Executive Order 14008 signed on January 27, 2021 on tackling the climate crisis, create an immediate opportunity to extend Buy American principles to the federal government’s procurement of solar energy and close an existing loophole that hurts American solar manufacturers.

Domestic solar manufacturers struggle to benefit from the federal government’s procurement of solar energy. Buy American principles apply when the federal government purchases solar module equipment, but do not apply when the federal government purchases solar energy through power purchase agreements. This is a problem because most solar energy purchased by the federal government is procured through power purchase agreements, rather than through purchase of solar equipment. As a result, most of the solar energy purchased by the federal government is generated primarily by foreign manufactured solar equipment instead of technology made in America.

For these reasons, we ask that you take action to extend Buy American principles to third-party purchases of solar modules used in power purchase agreements that primarily serve federal facilities. This action would ensure that the federal government’s procurement of clean energy not only supports our collective goals to tackle the climate crisis, but also supports good-paying American solar manufacturing jobs such as those based in Georgia.

Swift action to extend Buy American principles to the federal government’s procurement of solar energy, along with the passage of SEMA, will advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s Build Back Better agenda while creating good-paying, durable manufacturing jobs in Georgia and providing a boost to U.S. solar manufacturers. As your office evaluates opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and get Americans back to work, we hope you will continue to prioritize solar manufacturing jobs like those in Georgia and continue to support our nation’s leadership in advancing clean energy manufacturing and a clean energy future.

Sincerely,

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