A Chinese solar panel maker is planning to open a factory in the United States despite trade tensions between the two.
JA Solar Technology Co., one of the largest players in the Chinese solar panel field, has allocated $60 million for the facility, to be built in Phoenix, with completion slated for the fourth quarter of this year, according to Bloomberg.
The facility will have a production capacity of 2 GW annually, making a substantial addition to total U.S. solar panel production capacity, which currently stands at 4.5 GW.
A boost in the local production capacity for solar panels is instrumental for the Biden administration’s transition plans, which envisage a sizeable increase in both wind and solar generation capacity.
Earlier this week, another Asian company made a sizeable financial commitment to U.S. solar: South Korean Hanwha said it would invest $2.5 billion in expanding its solar equipment plant in Georgia.
However, the administration itself has created problems for the U.S. solar power industry by imposing tariffs on panel imports from China and other Asian countries on allegations that non-Chinese Asian solar panel manufacturers were using Chinese components, and Chinese components are subject to U.S. tariffs.
Local panel production, meanwhile, remains costlier than Chinese imports and has insufficient capacity. The Biden administration’s push against China in the solar department, which took the form of an investigation into the abovementioned allegations, led to delays and cancellations of more than 300 new solar projects.
Interestingly, the investigation was launched after a complaint from a U.S. solar panel manufacturer Auxin. According to its CEO, “When prices of finished panels from Southeast Asia come in below our bill of materials cost, American manufacturers cannot compete. If foreign producers are circumventing U.S. law and causing harm to U.S. producers like Auxin Solar, it needs to be addressed.”
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.