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Biden Invokes Defense Production Act to Prioritize Solar Panels, Divides People

Solar Panel
White house announcement divides people

On Monday, President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to expedite solar panel production, drawing criticism as journalists and Republicans questioned the grounds for using special wartime powers. On the other hand, renewable energy advocates cheered the announcement that accelerated the domestic production of clean energy technologies.

It remains to be seen if the decision will have any near-time effect and if the timing is connected to the record-high fuel prices as the White House did not raise the topic of the surging prices at the pump.

In the meantime, the White House release shared that both the Energy Department and the White House will be gathering key stakeholders to discuss the steps needed to maximize the impact of the DPA tools.

Edward Lawrence, a reporter for Fox Business, pressed White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the rationale for invoking the DPA. “What’s the real emergency in the solar industry for the Defense Production Act?” he asked at the regular briefing.

“The president, when he takes the Defense Production Act, it’s to make sure that he’s delivering for the American people. It is an important tool that he has used a couple of times and has been incredibly effective,” replied Jean-Pierre. “He is invoking the Defense Production Act to rapidly expand domestic production of solar panel parts, building insulation, heat pumps, and more.”

The press secretary said that Biden “is putting the full force of the federal government’s purchasing power behind supporting American clean energy manufacturers, and he is providing US solar employers the short-term stability they need to build clean energy projects and deliver more affordable energy.”

Jean-Pierre responded to another reporter’s question, saying that China’s imported solar panels would not benefit from the DPA invocation. “These actions do not apply to any materials imported from China,” she elaborated. “Import duties will remain in place on solar cells and panels from China or Taiwan.”

The Biden administration failed to specify the national-defense reason for the announcement despite answering questions.

During Biden’s role as vice president, the Obama administration aggressively pushed for solar energy production, which led to the Solyndra scandal, wherein a politically-affiliated firm went bankrupt after getting $535 million in federal loan guarantees. 

Notably, the previous administration used the Defense Production Act to coerce businesses to make ventilators and test swabs early into the pandemic. Biden recently invoked it under the speculation of speeding the production of baby formula to ease shortages.

Democrats expressed their disapproval of Biden’s decision, which could influence corporate behavior through the threat of action.


Biden Draws Criticism for Invoking Defense Production Act to Put Solar Panels Ahead

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