"Can the U.S. Make Solar Panels? This Company Thinks So."

"First Solar kept producing them in Ohio after most of the industry moved to China. President Biden wants many more domestic manufacturers."

"For more than two decades, workers at a factory in Perrysburg, Ohio, near Toledo, have been making something that other businesses stopped producing in the United States long ago: solar panels.

How the company that owns the factory, First Solar, managed to hang on when most solar panel manufacturing left the United States for China is critical to understanding the viability of President Biden’s efforts to establish a large domestic green energy industry.

Mr. Biden and Democrats in Congress last year authorized hundreds of billions of dollars in federal incentives for manufacturing solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, electric cars and semiconductors. The efforts amount to one of the most expansive uses of industrial policy ever attempted in the United States.

As a result, many companies, including First Solar, have announced the construction of dozens of factories, in total, around the country. But nobody is entirely sure whether these investments will be durable, especially in businesses, like battery or solar panel manufacturing, where China’s domination is deep and strong. Chinese manufacturers enjoy lower labor costs, economies of scale and incentives from a government eager to control industries critical to fighting climate change."

Ivan Penn reports for the New York Times September 26, 2023.

Source: NYTimes, 09/27/2023