For The Record

Ossoff pushes new solar tax credit to boost Georgia, U.S. clean energy jobs

By: - June 22, 2021 10:34 pm

Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff said he wants to add a solar tax credit to a broader Biden administration infrastructure plan that is still in negotiations.

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff says he will push for a new tax credit designed to quickly boost solar panel production in the United States.

The senator told reporters Tuesday his goal is to have the proposal added later to the broader infrastructure plan that continues to undergo behind-the-scenes bipartisan negotiations, which have centered on the scope of the package and how to pay for it.

“This legislation will bring more clean energy jobs to Georgia while creating tens of thousands of clean energy jobs across the country,” Ossoff said in a virtual press conference. “It will help make America energy independent and allow American manufacturers to compete with Chinese solar manufacturers, and it will accelerate our transition to clean and renewable energy sources.”

Hanwha Q CELLS’ massive plant in Dalton was the largest solar panel factory in the western hemisphere when it officially opened in 2019.

Georgia is growing its stake in the clean energy sector in other ways, too. SK Innovation is building a $2.6 billion factory in Commerce that will produce batteries for Ford and Volkswagen electric vehicles and could employ 2,600 people when fully built.

“We have fallen behind international competitors in the production of this strategic technology,” Ossoff said. “This legislation creates a new tax credit that will boost the production of solar panels at every single stage of the supply chain, a supply chain that’s currently dominated by Chinese manufacturers but that should be dominated by American companies.”

Today, U.S. companies must import some components from China and other countries.

“We don’t want to rely upon Chinese monopolies to produce this technology,” Ossoff said. “That’s why we need to invest in boosting American solar manufacturing.”

Scott Moskowitz, director of public affairs at Q CELLS America and a board member with the Georgia Solar Energy Association, called the proposal “a huge, huge deal” for the U.S. solar industry and said it would enable long-term, scaled investment in manufacturing.

“The credits are distinctly designed to lower the cost of solar production, enable scale, and incentivize innovation,” he said. “Ultimately, it would result in the U.S. producing enough solar products to meet its own demands and compete on a global basis. This bill will go a long way to solidifying Georgia’s status as the clean energy manufacturing heart of America.”

An estimated cost for the tax credit is not available at this point in the process, according to Ossoff’s office.

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Jill Nolin
Jill Nolin

Jill Nolin has spent nearly 15 years reporting on state and local government in four states, focusing on policy and political stories and tracking public spending. She has spent the last five years chasing stories in the halls of Georgia’s Gold Dome, earning recognition for her work showing the impact of rising opioid addiction on the state’s rural communities. She is a graduate of Troy University.