Climate law pushes First Solar to invest in domestic renewable energy industry

According to the company, this move is in large part because of the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which President Biden signed into law this month to help combat climate change.

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With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, incentives in renewable energy could soon grow the industry domestically. The new climate legislation includes renewable energy incentives that catapulted First Solar, a large solar panel manufacturer, to invest up to $1.2 billion to expand three of its U.S. factories and build a fourth.

According to the company, this move is in large part because of the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which President Biden signed into law this month to help combat climate change.

“We believe that with the IRA we have a durable industrial policy foundation, one that we have long been advocating for, that’s comprehensive in its foundation and will enable the solar industry as a whole,” Mark Widmar, chief executive of First Solar, said.

While renewable energy developers always relied on short tax breaks or investments from banks or other institutions, the new bill will “provide the certainty of a 10-year tax credit program and allow the credits to be transferable to the developers themselves,” The Guardian reported.

Experts predict this will help the U.S. compete with countries such as China in the manufacturing and installation of renewable energy and bring the nation to the forefront of renewable energy.

“This bill is going to make it very cheap to create clean electricity—you are going to get an incredible amount of deployment of solar and wind,” Robbie Orvis, a senior director of analysis at the research firm, Energy Innovation, said. “It will really unleash investment in renewables. It has all the incentives to grow the industry domestically. It’s a complete jump-start for renewables.”

First Solar said their investment in U.S. manufacturing will create nearly 850 jobs across the four factories and increase the company’s U.S. employment to 3,000 employees, Reuters reported. According to an analysis from Energy Innovation, IRA will allocate $370 billion for climate spending, which will “double the amount of installed wind and solar energy capacity by 2030, equaling 85% of the total U.S. energy supply.

“President Biden’s bold climate agenda and historic legislative wins has turned America into a magnet for clean energy manufacturing,” Ali Zaidi, White House Deputy National Climate Advisor, said

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Ashley is an editor, social media content manager and writer at NationofChange. Before joining NoC, she was a features reporter at The Daily Breeze – a local newspaper in Southern California – writing a variety of stories on current topics including politics, the economy, human rights, the environment and the arts. Ashley is a transplant from the East Coast calling Los Angeles home.

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