The Biden administration launched on Thursday what it claims will be the most incredible community solar endeavor in American history, producing enough energy to power 140,000 homes and businesses across three states.
During a visit to the Qcells solar panel manufacturing south of Atlanta, Vice President Kamala Harris made the announcement about the agreement.
Hanwha Solutions Corp., the corporate parent of the South Korean firm, announced in January that it would invest $2.5 billion to expand its Dalton, Georgia, plant and construct a second plant nearby in Cartersville.
By 2027, Qcells anticipates meeting about 30% of the country’s solar panel demand, including producing components typically made abroad.
In accordance with a deal made public by Harris, Qcells, and Virginia-based Summit Ridge Energy will set up community solar projects in Illinois, Maine, and Maryland that can produce 1.2 gigawatts of electricity.
Community solar projects allow renters and people without access to rooftop solar panels to benefit from clean energy by enabling them to tap into solar power generated at a shared site rather than on individual rooftops.
According to the White House, customers save 10% annually on average thanks to community solar. The most significant community solar order in American history, according to officials, the new plan will necessitate the production of 2.5 million solar panels at Qcells’ facility in Dalton, Georgia.
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According to Harris and other authorities, the Inflation Reduction Act, a significant climate and health measure passed by Congress last year, contains tax incentives that make the solar project possible.
“Since taking office, our administration has made the largest investment in solar energy in our nation’s history,” Harris said in a speech at the Qcells plant. “We strengthened domestic supply chains to make sure America has reliable access to parts and materials to build a clean energy technology and economy. We provided tax credits to encourage companies to buy solar panels made in America. And we invested billions more to build and expand factories like this one.”
The huge order by Summit Ridge Energy “was made possible by the investments that we have made to expand American manufacturing and increase demand for clean energy,” Harris said. “There is a nexus there. When we talk about the relationship between supply and demand, it is real.”
Harris praised the contributions of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, the two Democratic senators from Georgia, who pushed for provisions to promote solar and helped pass the climate law.
“All across our nation there are communities like Dalton — communities full of people with incredible ambition and aspiration — who just need an opportunity to show what they can do,” she said.
While White House officials compared Republican opposition to the climate law with Democratic efforts to promote clean energy, Harris did not mention any political foes.
A tweet from Everything Georgia’s Twitter account:
Today VP Kamala Harris announced in Dalton, Georgia that Qcells, a solar panel manufacturer in NW Georgia, will produce 1.2 GW of energy with more than 2.5 million solar panels, in the country’s largest-ever community solar project. pic.twitter.com/mN3khUXOJd
— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) April 6, 2023
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Dalton, was singled out by the White House. Greene wants to repeal specific provisions of the climate law and voted against it.
The Inflation Reduction Act, notably a plan to hire new IRS employees, has come under fire from Greene, a conservative firebrand who spoke at a rally in New York to protest the arrest of former President Donald Trump.
Greene claimed that thousands of those hired would be armed agents, a claim that the IRS has vehemently denied.
According to the IRS, not all staff employed under the new law will be auditors, and many will be filling in for workers scheduled to retire or depart. Special agents with guns comprise a very small portion of the IRS workforce.
Requests for comment from a Greene spokeswoman went unanswered. Greene has previously stated that she is “excited to have jobs” from the Qcells plant in her district.
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