New rule bars purchases of China-assembled solar panels for military sites
HILLSBORO, Ore., Dec. 23, 2013 – Today, SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar manufacturer for more than 35 years, applauded the administration of President Barack Obama as well as the U.S. Department of Defense for issuing a rule that the company said could help to restore the intended purpose of the Buy American Act in purchases of solar photovoltaic technology for military sites – and offers new hope of a solar manufacturing-industry turn-around that can advance the nation's defense, energy and economic security.
Published Friday in the Federal Register, The rule effectively limits those purchases to solar panels assembled in the United States or economies with U.S. free trade agreements and thereby prohibits purchases of panels assembled in China, Malaysia and other non-trade-agreement economies. The restriction could provide a boost to domestic producers of solar panels in the United States and its many ally nations. Countries that have joined the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement also are eligible for Buy American treatment.
SolarWorld leads the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing, which advocates robust and sustainable domestic renewable-energy manufacturing and free trade based on sound implementation of long-standing international trade laws and rules. While Chinese manufacturers have enjoyed free and open access to the U.S. economy, its renewable-energy incentives and tax-funded military purchasing, the People's Republic of China has limited foreign solar-industry access to its own economy. CASM includes more than 240 solar-industry employers of about 18,350 Americans.
"With this new rule, the Obama administration and Department of Defense have taken an important step in favor of U.S. manufacturing, the nation's energy security and the countless American workers who depend on both," said Mukesh Dulani, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., based in Oregon. "We commend them for clarifying the Buy American Act rules in this important high-tech sector of the economy, and with its help, we look forward to working to rebuild domestic solar manufacturing."
The Buy American Act, enacted in 1933, requires the U.S. government to prefer U.S.-produced goods in purchasing. However, China and other countries have previously exploited a loophole in how the government interpreted the rule for purposes of solar purchasing to supply projects on Department of Defense properties.
SolarWorld AG manufactures solar power systems and in doing so contributes to a cleaner energy supply worldwide. The company, located in Bonn, employs approximately 2,500 people and carries out production in Freiberg, Germany, and Hillsboro, USA. From raw material silicon to the solar module, SolarWorld manages all stages of production ‒ including its own research and development. Through an international distribution network, SolarWorld supplies customers all over the world with solar modules and complete systems. The company maintains high social standards at all locations across the globe, and has committed itself to resource- and energy-efficient production. SolarWorld has been publicly traded on the stock market since 1999. More information at www.solarworld-usa.com