Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday visited the Qcells facility in Dalton, Ga., to announce the largest community solar order in American history – part of the White House’s tour of investments in clean energy, manufacturing and job creation.
The order is part of an agreement between Qcells and Summit Ridge Energy, one of the nation’s largest commercial solar companies, which owns and operates community solar plants and power storage facilities. Qcells’ facility in Dalton is “one of the largest solar panel factories in all of the United States,” Harris said.
The agreement, administration officials said, is set to deliver 1.2 gigawatts of solar power, and will necessitate the manufacture of 2.5 million solar panels. According to the White House, this is the largest community solar purchase in American history, and will generate enough solar energy to power 140,000 homes and businesses.
“This order was made possible by the investments that we have made to expand American manufacturing and increase demand for clean energy,” Harris said, crediting the Biden administration’s legislative record for boosting clean energy manufcaturing.
“These 2.5 million panels will be used … to build hundreds of solar arrays in states like Illinois and Maine and Maryland,” she continued. “Because of the work that’s happening right here. These projects are known as community solar projects, which will help reach folks who otherwise might might not be able to have access to solar power.”
“For example, people who might live in an apartment building and do not then have access to a roof to install solar panels, or folks who might live in a home that is covered by shade,” Harris said. “Or folks who simply cannot afford the upfront cost to place solar panels on their roof. In all, the solar panels in this one order will provide enough electricity to power 140,000 homes, and on average the electricity they generate will be 10% cheaper than traditional power.”
“Georgia, I’m here today because all of this work demonstrates a very important and probably obvious point: It shows that when we invest in climate, when we invest in clean energy, when we invest in U.S.-based manufacturing, we invest in America and her people all across our nation,” Harris added.
The announced partnership between Qcells and Summit Ridge Energy comes three months after Qcells announced a $2.5 billion plan to expand solar manufacturing in Georgia. That development, the company said, will expand its solar module production from 1.7 gigawatts in 2022 to 8.4 gigawatts by 2024. The expansion is expected to lead to 2,500 new jobs.
“My goal remains to make Georgia the world leader in advanced energy production….today secured the largest clean energy manufacturing project in American history, with thousands of solar jobs and billions of dollars on the way to Georgia,” Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., said in January.
Ossoff and Sen. Raphael Warnock, his fellow Senator from Georgia, worked together on the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act, which later became components of last year’s Inflation Reduction Act. That legislation created nearly 10 years of solar tax incentives that apparently led to this investment in Georgia — as well as what Qcells executive Scott Moskowitz called an expected “billions of dollars” in investment across the country.
Harris hailed Ossoff and Warnock, praising their hard work for the people of Georgia and particularly praising the former’s “passion for solar energy,” which the vice president said the two of them share.
“I see your senators as they work in Washington, D.C.,” she said. “I’ve seen them in rooms where the cameras on and where the cameras off, and each and every time they are always fighting for the families of Georgia and always fighting to create good jobs and to strengthen manufacturing here in Georgia.”
According to White House officials, one-third of solar panels installed in the U.S. have been installed under the Biden-Harris administration.
Harris’s visit to Dalton comes amid the White House’s “Invest in America Tour,” in which Biden, Harris and other White House officials have visited communities and manufacturers benefitting from the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the American Rescue Plan.
Harris pledged that she and President Biden “will continue to fight to create opportunity in every community.”
“We will continue to work to build a nation where every person, no matter where they start, can have the opportunity not only to survive, but to thrive,” she said. “And we will continue to invest in America, because we know that when we do, there is no limit to what we can achieve.”
Source : Spectrum News