WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today applauded legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH) that would boost U.S. solar manufacturing by closing a loophole in the Buy American Act (BAA). Currently, the federal government does not buy solar equipment, only energy via power purchase agreements (PPAs). The PPAs can be sourced from American companies to meet BAA requirements, but those companies are not required to use American-made equipment to generate that energy. Representative Ryan’s bill would close this loophole and require that energy purchased by the federal government’s PPAs be generated from America-made solar equipment.
Representatives Kaptur (D-OH-09) and DeFazio (D-OR-04) joined Representative Ryan in introducing the bill.
“On behalf of CPA and our members, we applaud Representative Ryan for introducing this critical legislation to boost American solar manufacturing,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of CPA. “Importantly, this bill will close a loophole that allows China’s government-subsidized solar manufacturers that use forced labor and dirty coal-fired power plants to exploit the Buy American Act — a loophole that the Biden administration has shown no interest in addressing.”
Last week, the Biden administration took unprecedented, and potentially illegal, action to sabotage the Department of Commerce’s investigation into whether Chinese solar manufacturers are illegally circumventing antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) orders. As NBC confirmed, regardless of what the Commerce Department finds in its investigation, “nobody will be punished.” Biden’s Solar Emergency Declaration gives Chinese manufacturers a free pass to illegally circumvent AD/CVD orders for the next 24 months and protects them from retroactive duties.
Equally concerning, the Biden administration claims their DPA plan will only result in “up to 10 gigawatts (GW) over the next decade” — a minuscule goal that will do little to help U.S. solar manufacturers compete against China’s government-subsidized solar firms that use forced labor. In 2021, the U.S. imported 24 GW of solar, meaning Biden’s DPA plan would support a maximum of only one (1) GW per year of total U.S. domestic solar manufacturing — less than five percent of imports.
Additionally, the BAA will have to be strengthened by Congress or by Executive Order in order for domestic solar manufacturers to benefit from Biden’s DPA action. If the Biden administration is serious about using DPA to boost U.S. domestic solar manufacturing, they should support the immediate passage of Representative Ryan’s bill to close the loophole in the BAA.