U.S.-based solar panel manufacturer First Solar may receive up to $11 billion in subsidies from the government thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), according to The Wall Street Journal.
The company expects to receive up to $710 million in subsidies this year alone, which is an amount equivalent to nearly 90% of its predicted operating profit for this year, according to the WSJ. Philip Shen, managing partner at investment bank Roth Capital Partners, estimates that the IRA may end up giving First Solar up to $11 billion in subsidies over the course of the next decade.
The Biden administration will announce nearly $5 billion in grants and loans to support landowners’ ability to retrofit low-income housing with green technology like solar panels, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
The funding will be broken into $837.5 million in grants and $4 billion in loans to implement the Green and Resilient Retrofit Program, a provision of President Joe Biden’s signature climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), according to the Post. While the IRA already offers tax breaks for making the switch from fossil-fuel-powered appliances to green tech — for example, offering $2,000 to install an electric heat pump — the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program seeks to address the lack of time and resources that low-income Americans may have to take advantage of them.
Over 90% of solar panels are “thrown in the trash,” according to a recent news report.
The report by CBS News also found wind energy producers such as turbine are not to eco-friendly.
This week, the U.S. Senate Energy Committee is examining the feasibility of building domestic supply chains for crucial minerals. The U.S. is currently completely dependent on imports of rare earth elements (REEs) that will determine whether the Biden Administration’s environmental and electrification goals are met. REEs also are used in essential defense systems like fighter jet engines, missile guidance and defense systems, and secure communication networks. Regardless if you are a champion of environmental protection or a strong national defense, bringing crucial supply chains to the U.S. will result in less emissions, higher environmental standards, and more control over materials that are the key to a greener and more secure future.
Green technology that underpins solar panels, wind turbines, and the lithium-ion batteries that store energy all require REEs. Neodymium, cobalt, copper, and lithium are all used in electrical vehicles, and those minerals are just a few of the 17 key minerals that the U.S. is completely dependent on imports for, and they’re a fraction of 29 other minerals that the U.S. imports half its domestic needs.
President Joe Biden loosened tariffs placed on solar panel imports by the Trump administration Friday, paving the way for Chinese companies to produce more panels for American consumers.
Biden issued a proclamation Friday morning, increasing the tariff-rate quota on solar equipment, or the amount of solar panel components Chinese manufacturers can send to the U.S. before receiving a penalty. The action means Chinese solar cell makers may send up to 5 gigawatts (GW) of capacity, double the previous amount of 2.5 GW, to the U.S. before being hit with a levy.
The White House action also exempts bifacial solar panels, or panels that absorb sunlight from both sides. Such panels, which are increasingly common, are often used in industry-scale projects and are believed to be the “future of the industry.”