- Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at solar panel manufacturer Qcells’ Dalton, Georgia site on Thursday, where the vice president lauded the company's recent order for 2.5 million solar panels to be built at its facilities.
- The order was placed by commercial solar company Summit Ridge Energy, which will use the 1.2 gigawatts of solar panels to develop 350 solar projects over the next four years, according to a press release.
- Harris' visit was one of the latest stops in the Biden administration's cross-country "Investing in America" tour, touting its efforts to bolster the manufacturing industry. "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," the vice president said.
Qcells announced plans to build a $2.5 billion solar panel manufacturing plant in January, with plans to create 2,500 jobs and help scale the country's production capacity in the sector.
The news spurred further investment, with Qcells supplier Hanwha Advanced Materials Georgia, Inc. announcing plans last week to build a site in Cartersville, Georgia. The company will be the country's sole domestic manufacturer of the solar panel component solar encapsulant film.
Summit Ridge Energy touts its new order from Qcells and its supply chain as the largest domestic community solar purchase in history. The panels will go towards providing solar energy to individuals and businesses who cannot install their own panels. Customers often group together to subscribe and receive a credit on their utility bill for their share of the energy produced, according to the solar company.
The panels from the order will provide enough electricity to power 140,000 homes, the vice president said during her remarks.
"There is a nexus, when we talk about the relationship between supply and demand. It is real," Harris said. "These projects are known as community solar projects, which will help reach folks who otherwise might not be able to have access to solar power."
The solar company will begin installing the first panels from the order at the end of this year. Solar Ridge Energy applauded the Inflation Reduction Act's tax incentives that it said helped make the investment possible.
"Community solar is key to bringing affordable, reliable clean energy to communities large and small, urban and rural, low-income or working class," Qcells CEO Justin Lee said in a statement. "The Qcells and SRE partnership will ensure more communities can access the endless benefits solar power offers, including cleaner air, lower energy bills, and more jobs."
The administration's manufacturing tour has seen officials fan out across the U.S. in support of recent investment in the industry. President Biden kicked off the tour last week with a visit to auto parts maker Cummins' North Carolina plant as it announced a more than $1 billion manufacturing investment.