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Clean Power

From Policy To Prosperity: Solar Is Supercharging American Communities After One Year Of Energy Incentives

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Just twelve months after the Inflation Reduction Act became law, the solar and storage industry is quickly becoming a cornerstone of America’s energy economy. Since the passage of the law’s historic energy incentives, solar and storage companies have announced over $100 billion in private sector investments.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

As companies build out their operations and work to meet the unprecedented demand for American-made clean energy, Americans are seeing billions of dollars flow into their communities.

This wave of investment is lifting Americans in every corner of the country, from cell manufacturers in Minnesota all the way down the supply chain to solar customers in California. The last twelve months have shown just how powerful an economic engine the solar and storage industry has become.

Here are a few of the ways that these investments are making a difference for the American people.

Investing in Communities & Building Careers

From the “battery belt” in the Midwest to solar component manufacturers across the South, U.S. communities are attracting investments from around the world as each town and city in America looks to stake out a place in the clean energy economy.

These manufacturing investments are already reinvigorating local economies in places like Warsaw, Indiana and Buckeye, Arizona. Solar firms are hiring workers, buying supplies, transporting materials, constructing new facilities, and adding to the tax base of local governments. For every $1 spent on manufacturing, $2.60 is added to the economy.

Similarly, in communities like Dalton, Georgia, these manufacturing facilities are also having a positive, ripple effect on neighboring counties as other parts of the solar supply chain setup shop nearby. These facilities are creating manufacturing ecosystems and hubs across the country, helping to revitalize dormant energy communities and bring jobs and opportunities to the places that need them most.

By the end of the decade, the nation’s solar manufacturing workforce is set to triple in size to over 100,000 jobs.

Manufacturing jobs are well-paying, family-sustaining jobs that have long supported a thriving middle class. These jobs will help to utilize the human capital that many communities have built up over decades and employ Americans in the energy sector for years to come.

Expanding Supply Chains

For the first time in decades, the solar supply chain is coming home, positioning the United States to lead the global clean energy future.

Today, thanks to the energy incentives passed last year, the United States is, for the first time, seeing major announcements across the entire solar supply chain.

Over the last year, there have been 51 announcements for new or expanded solar manufacturing facilities. Together, these announcements will add up to 155 gigawatts (GW) of new production capacity to the U.S. solar supply chain and are worth nearly $20 billion in private investments. Before these announcements, the United States had virtually no cell, wafer, or ingot manufacturing capacity. If these announcements move forward, by 2026, U.S. solar manufacturing capacity across modules, cells, wafers, ingots, and inverters will be 17 times larger than it is today.

The transformational buildout of the domestic solar supply chain will help the United States gain greater control of its energy resources, helping to end reliance on imports and insulate the United States from global conflicts and shipping disruptions. This will lead to greater competitiveness in the global energy market, helping the United States create a clean, abundant and dominant energy future.

Slashing Carbon Emissions

New investments in solar and storage technologies are also helping to make a major dent in the root cause of climate change: carbon emissions.

Investing in solar and storage remains one of the best ways to rapidly decarbonize the grid and electrify the economy over the next decade. By 2033, U.S. solar capacity will reach 668 GW, enough to power every home east of the Mississippi River with affordable and reliable solar energy. The growth of emission-free solar energy will offset 459 million metric tons of CO2 annually by 2033, which is equivalent to roughly one-third of all power sector emissions in 2021.

The last twelve months have been transformational for the United States’ solar and storage industry. Companies are investing, supply chains are strengthening, demand is growing, and jobs are being created in every corner of the country.

Over the next decade, the impact of the energy incentives passed last year will only grow.

The solar industry is expected to generate $565 billion in private sector investments for the U.S. economy and to grow to nearly 500,000 jobs over the next 10 years.

Solar and storage are catalyzing America’s booming clean energy economy — and it’s just getting started.

By SEIA Comms Team

Featured photo courtesy of Lightsource BP

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