Biden administration set to revives $40bn loan program to beef up renewables
March 10, 2021 PV InfoLink
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is reactivating a loan program that has $40 billion in unspent funds to boost clean energy technology, a move reinforcing Joe Biden’s effort to decarbonize the economy by 2050.
The loan program went dormant under Donald Trump, as Republicans criticized the spending wasteful.
Granholm will appoint Jigar Shah as the head of the department’s loan programs office. Shah is a long-time clean energy entrepreneur who has co-founded Generate Capital and formed SunEdison, a renewable energy company promoting solar and wind energy, according to Reuters.
While the $40 billion in low-interest loans is expected to rev up the clean energy sector, the PV industry has different views. Conflicts over the tariff exemption for bifacial panels continue into the Biden administration, as President Biden backs former President Trump’s October proclamation which placed tariffs on bifacial module imports, asking the court to dismiss the complaint from members of the PV industry arguing that Trump’s move is unlawful.
The move indicates that the Biden administration may not remove the bifacial tariff exemption from the Section 201, at least for the time being. President Biden’s opaque stance on solar tariffs caused the solar ETF to slip 2% to 7%.
To achieve zero carbon pollution from the U.S. electricity sector by 2035, President Biden signed a series of climate actions on January 27, including pausing new federal oil leases, cutting incentives for fossil fuel and electrifying the government’s vehicles, as well as creating more green jobs. Granholm, a powerful advocate for electric vehicles and clean energy, will support the Biden administration in driving the nation toward a cleaner energy future.
Under the climate plan, the U.S. must build more PV plants. However, President Biden’s emphasis on bolstering domestic manufacturing and job growth may harm the development of solar sector due to increased costs and prices of solar products. And with a 50-50 split in the Senate, how much progress the climate action can be made remains to be seen.
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