The US invented the first solar panel back at the Bell Labs in 1954, but over time, has let the manufacturing slip away to foreign interests, (China, Japan, South Korea) who recognized and embraced the opportunity to dominate an emerging industry. In fact, China offers government-backed financing and low interest rates for local factories which makes it difficult, if not impossible for US manufacturers to compete financially. This has lead to tariffs against some solar products being imported into the US over the past eight years. Solar products coming from China face a 30% tariff because those manufacturers were dumping products into the US at a loss but then being made whole financially by the Chinese government.
Locally, Washington state has Silfab Solar, a Canadian-owned company but with factories in Bellingham and now in Burlington too. In Moses Lake, REC Solar has a solar factory which has cycled between producing polysilicon for solar cells – and closing several times, in large part due to the dumping of solar products from China.
We’d love to see Senator Ossoff’s proposal become Legislation and for the US to regain it’s position as the world’s leader in manufacturing solar products.
In the meantime, check out this cool vintage Bell Labs video from 1954 from when solar really got it’s start.
When you’re ready to find out if solar is right for you, give us a call at 206-706-1931 or fill out our contact form below and tell us about your solar project.