Building out a US solar supply chain

To reach net zero, the American solar industry will have to meet ambitious installation targets while navigating IRA rules, supply-chain shortages and looming tariffs.

On the Catalyst with Shayle Kann podcast this week:

Everything, everywhere, all at once — that’s the state of the U.S. solar industry right now.

Suppliers are rushing to take advantage of the Inflation Reduction Act’s generous domestic-manufacturing incentives. Major manufacturers such as First Solar and Enel have announced billion-dollar investments in new and expanded factories everywhere from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Lawrence County, Alabama and beyond.

But tariffs on the import of some Chinese-made parts may resume at the end of 2024, and the industry still faces supply-chain shortages and permitting backlogs.

Meanwhile, the stakes couldn’t be higher. To reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the U.S. needs to significantly ramp up its pace and volume of annual solar installations. 

Is that achievable in this chaotic environment? 

In this episode, Shayle talks about the state of the U.S. solar industry with Ethan Zindler, head of Americas at BloombergNEF. They cover topics including:

  • The generous manufacturing incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act.

  • Conditions to qualify for the incentives, such as meeting prevailing wages, building in energy communities and sourcing domestic content.

  • The saga of solar tariffs.

  • Looming competition from manufacturers in Southeast Asia.

  • How supply-chain bottlenecks have eased up.

Recommended resources:

  • Canary: Can the U.S. manufacture enough solar panels to meet its surging demand?

  • Canary: The Inflation Reduction Act could revive solar manufacturing in the U.S.

  • Canary: In Biden solar tariff compromise, installers win

  • Princeton Zero Lab’s Repeat Project: Preliminary Report: The Climate and Energy Impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022

Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

Support for Catalyst comes from Climate Positive, a podcast by HASI that features candid conversations with the leaders, innovators and changemakers who are at the forefront of the transition to a sustainable economy. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Catalyst is supported by Scale Microgrids, the distributed energy company dedicated to transforming how modern energy infrastructure is designed, constructed and financed. Distributed generation can be complex. Scale makes it easy. Learn more at scalemicrogrids.com.