Harnessing the Sun: Inside the Thriving World of Solar Panel Manufacturing

Hello, fellow solar enthusiasts! Today, we’ll be taking a deep dive into a topic that is very pertinent to the future of solar. It’s the balance between supporting expansion of solar companies, nurturing domestic solar panel manufacturing, and preserving opportunities in solar construction and installation.

Union representatives, who have a major stake in this discussion, have recently shown support for a tariff moratorium on imported solar panels. This comes as domestic production of solar panels is increasing. Here’s why this is important: the vast majority – about two-thirds – of jobs in the solar industry are in construction and installation, including solar panels for your home, as opposed to the 13% in manufacturing. This information was relayed by a principled union leader during a webinar hosted by the American Clean Power Association (ACP).

You might ask, what does this mean for solar companies and solar consumers looking to establish a solar array for home use? Jeff Soth, legislative and political director of the International Union of Operating Engineers, shared an interesting perspective on this. He was concerned about the “tail” of manufacturing “wagging the dog” – in other words, having an outsized influence on regulation and policy. He emphasized that while manufacturing is a crucial part of the solar industry, it should not impede the growth of other sectors such as construction and installation.

If you’re looking to go green and thinking of installing solar panels for your home, you might be interested to know that industry insiders believe foreign solar panel supplies shouldn’t be restricted too rapidly. The reason? Well, according to Bill Parsons, American Clean Power (ACP) senior vice president and political director, all it would achieve is slowing the construction jobs, grid benefits, and ultimately, the growth of the economy. It’s something of a dilemma for solar companies: whether to opt for domestic products that aren’t readily available on one hand, or to use imported panels to avoid slowing down the industry.

So now, with a major part of the solar industry being construction, unions have a vital role to play. When it comes to solar project support, unions are particularly influential, primarily because union members live in the same communities where new projects are slated to be built. These workers become advocates for these projects once they understand the potential benefits, providing a crucial touchpoint for community involvement. This was exemplified in the recent tri-trades agreement among the construction unions in response to an appeal from the solar industry. This agreement sought to streamline project labor agreements making it easier to build solar projects.

I will leave you with this. Sustainable job creation within the solar industry, not least the potential for apprenticeships, is a feasible path towards a greener economy. Yet a significant challenge remains: the solar industry has to prove its capacity to provide family-sustaining jobs.

In conclusion, it is clear that significant progress is being made towards creating a sustainable and inclusive solar industry. Remember, solar isn’t just about solar arrays for your home or promoting solar companies; it’s about creating a sustainable economy for everyone. The industry is growing and evolving, and, in the process, offering a multitude of opportunities. Welcome to the bright future of solar!

Stay tuned for more exciting updates on solar industry happenings. And as always, here’s to a brighter, greener future with solar energy at its core!

Original Articlehttps://pv-magazine-usa.com/2024/06/17/reshore-solar-manufacturing-but-dont-stall-construction-with-tariffs-suggests-union-official/

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