Biden administration to invest US$56m to support solar manufacturing

The US$56 million funding aimed for solar manufacturing will boost development of perovskite and cadmium telluride technologies. Image: NREL.

US President Joe Biden has launched a series of initiatives to spur domestic solar PV manufacturing and recycling with US$56 million in new funding.

Through the Department of Energy (DOE), the programmes will aim to expand production of thin-film modules and also support the development of perovskite solar cells, in an attempt to reduce its dependency on imports from Southeast Asia while boosting its domestic manufacturing industry.

US$29 million in funding – including US$10 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – will support the FY22 Photovoltaics Research and Development programme, which will finance projects that increase the reuse ad recycling of solar technologies and those that develop PV module designs that reduce manufacturing costs, including perovskite materials.

A further US$27 million under the FY22 Solar Manufacturing Incubator will support projects commercialising new technologies and manufacturing processes capable of boosting domestic solar manufacturing in the US. That scheme specifically name checks cadmium telluride, the key material for thin-film solar manufacturing championed by US manufacturer First Solar.

The technologies supported by the DOE do not include any funding for silicon-based products whose supply chain is mostly dependent of China and Southeast Asia.

Even more so as prices of polysilicon in China kept increasing in the past few weeks and are closing in the RMB300/kg (US$44.41/kg) threshold.

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said the Biden-Harris administration wanted to “seize US leadership” in solar energy by investing in newer technologies that would strengthen the domestic solar supply chain.

Earlier this month, the US DOE had launched a US$500 million programme aimed to install clean energy on current or former mine lands across the country.

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