Background Press Call by Senior Administration Officials Previewing the Vice President’s Trip to Dalton, Georgia
MODERATOR: Hi, everyone. This is [Moderator] from the Vice President’s Office. Thank you so much for joining today’s call, where we will preview a historic announcement that the Vice President will be making tomorrow in Dalton, Georgia, as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s Investing in America tour.
Today we’re joined by [senior administration official] and [senior administration official].
The call will be on background, attributed to “senior administration officials.” Afterwards, there will be a Q&A on tomorrow’s announcements, which will also be on background, attributed to “senior administration officials.” All of the contents of this call will be under embargo until tomorrow, April 6th, at five o’clock a.m.
With that, I will turn the call over to [senior administration official]. [Senior administration official].
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Hi, everybody. So tomorrow, the Vice President will travel of Dalton, Georgia, to highlight how the Biden administra- — Biden-Harris administration’s investments are creating a clean energy economy that works for all.
In Dalton, the Vice President will tour a Qcells solar panel manufacturing facility and deliver remarks. Catalyzed by the Biden-Harris administration’s pro-climate actions such as the inflation Reduction Act, in January 2023 Qcells announced that it is investing $2.5 billion to triple its solar manufacturing capacity in Georgia.
And tomorrow, the Vice President will announce a historic commitment between Qcells and Summit Ridge Energy to deploy 1.2 gigawatts of community solar power, which will require the manufacturing of 2.5 million solar panels and is the largest community solar purchase in American history.
These community solar projects will benefit hundreds of communities across the U.S. and will generate enough clean electricity to power 140,000 homes and businesses, including households in underserved communities.
Community solar results in an average of 10 percent savings annually for customers and is a way for renters and those without access to rooftop solar to receive the benefits of clean energy.
Tomorrow’s announcement is just one of the many investments we are seeing across Georgia to build our clean energy economy and invest in industries of the future.
And the announcement that is happening is because of the action that Biden — President Biden and Vice President Harris took to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the CHIPS and Science Act.
And this week, ABB and Kia also made new clean energy and electric vehicle announcements in Georgia and attributed those investments to the work of the Inflation Reduction Act.
The trip to Dalton comes as the President, Vice President, and Cabinet are fanning out across the country as part of the Investing in America tour to amplify how the administration’s actions are creating millions of good-paying jobs, rebuilding our infrastructure, paving the way for a clean energy future, strengthening supply chains, and lowering costs for working families.
Georgia has already received $131 billion in private-sector manufacturing investments since the start of the administration, primarily in clean energy, electric vehicle, and battery manufacturing.
This is on top — or this is in addition to the $435 billion that has been invested across the nation. Part of this tour is also to lay out what’s at stake if congressional Republicans get their way and repeal the Inflation Reduction Act and slash funding for manufacturing, innovation, and research.
The Vice President will talk about the impact that the President’s Investing in America agenda is having on communities like Dalton — how we’re recruiting thousands of good jobs in these communities, helping bring billions of dollars of investments here, and helping Dalton and Georgia be at the center of building a clean energy economy that will protect our environment, create good jobs, and strengthen communities for generations to come.
This work also builds on the Vice President’s history working on climate action.
As San Francisco District Attorney, Vice President Harris established one of the first environmental justice units in the country.
And as Attorney General of California, the Vice President took action to hold polluters accountable and protect communities and the environment, including after the 2015 Santa Barbara oil spill.
As a U.S. senator from California, the Vice President led comprehensive legislation centered on climate and environmental justice and authored multiple bills that informed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.
And, with that, I will turn to my colleague, [senior administration official].
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks, [senior administration official]. And thanks, everybody.
I think, tomorrow, one of the things you’ll see is how much the clean energy economy really means transformation for communities on the ground.
This administration, under the President and Vice President’s leadership, has really leaned in to making sure that the geography of opportunity as we expand clean energy and climate solutions across the country reaches every single ZIP Code. That’s what we’re seeing in places like Dalton, Georgia.
And one of the exciting parts of making sure that opportunity reaches everybody is the fact you’ll see on the ground, for those of you who travel, that the clean energy economy really is a boon for blue-collar workers.
You know, so often, I think folks think of clean energy as the thing that folks from STEM backgrounds do in the labs. The reality is, today, we are at scale. We have the solutions at hand.
And even as we get more challenging news every day from the scientists — most recently, today from NOAA scientists showing how greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise — we know we have the tools at hand. And that’s what we’re seeing in Dalton, Georgia.
One of the, I think, exciting things for me is how this is pulling on diverse supply chains and really accelerating capital formation in places where we wouldn’t have expected it before.
That’s what the Invest in America tour is all about. It’s about turning America into a magnet for private investment.
And we’re seeing that with, as [senior administration official] mentioned, hundreds of billions of dollars coming off the sidelines and going into real projects on the ground. Solar is one of those stories of transformation.
Since the President took office, 50 manufacturing plants with enough capacity to power 8 million more homes each year with solar power have been invested in. At least half of those plants were announced in just the months since the Inflation Reduction Act. It’s easy to forget it’s only been months. We can’t measure that time in years yet. But that’s 105 gigawatts of domestic solar equipment manufacturing capacity just since the IRA was passed.
And from an employment perspective, that means real, good-paying jobs on the ground. From a deployment perspective, that means an eight-fold increase in our capability by the end of 2024.
And it’s a transformation that we’re seeing not just in traditional clean energy technologies, but across the board, whether it’s the chips that go into these high-tech products, be they vehicles or clean energy products, or, frankly, the expansion in climate-smart agriculture that we’re seeing in places like Georgia.
So, we’re excited about the progress we’re seeing on the ground. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t note the tremendous leadership from Senator Ossoff and Senator Warnock in helping us pass these historic pieces of legislation and helping attract this investment into the state of Georgia.
None of this happens by accident. It’s been the persistence of folks in Congress, like Ossoff and Warnock. It’s been the persistence of our leaders here at the White House, the President and Vice President, that’s making sure that we’re really attracting this capital; putting steel in the ground — not just talking about projects pie in the sky, but actually putting steel in the ground; creating good-paying jobs.
And we see it in this announcement from Qcells. We see it in the announcement today from Kia, which is going to make its EV9 in Georgia. We see it from ABB — also an announcement just this week. So, it’s a — it’s a real transformative moment.
But I think the important part is: This transformation is taking place because a bunch of people decided we needed new policies that were going to turn America into a magnet for this type of investment. We’re excited to showcase the proof of that on the ground tomorrow.
MODERATOR: Great, thank you so much to our two speakers. With that, we will move into a Q&A. As a reminder, this call will be embargoed until five o’clock a.m. Eastern Time tomorrow.
With that, if you have any question just press the raise-hand function and we will call on you. So we’ll give it a second for those to queue.
Great. Our first question will go to Ben Geman. Your line should be unmuted.
Q Hi, can you hear me okay?
MODERATOR: Yes, we can.
Q Yeah, thanks. This has been Ben Geman with Axios. I wonder, can you walk me through what are the specific IRA incentives that are connected to this Qcells project? Is — were you referring to the manufacturing incentives or the extended power production — or solar power production incentives or both? Thank you.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Both.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, Ben, it’s both, and it’s a lot more.
First, there’s a tremendous demand for these clean energy technologies to come online. And that’s propelled by the fact that they save the American people money. This is a cheap — cheaper, more reliable, more affordable alternative, and it’s becoming increasingly ubiquitous in the market.
So, the demand is being driven in part by the economics and in part by now a 10-year production tax credit and investment tax credit to deploy these technologies, as well as, by the way, by a ton of state action all across the country that’s chasing after a 100-percent clean grid, which is the goal the President set for 2035.
But in addition to that — and I think the reason we’re seeing this supply chain reshore to the United States — is because of the manufacturing and production tax credit that’s included in the Inflation Reduction Act.
And, by the way, Senators Warnock and Ossoff really were the pioneers of the SEMA legislation — the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America legislation — that then went into the IRA that we then passed, which is leading to this transformative supply chain being built out all across the country.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I’d also just add that Qcells has noted that, in particular for the community solar projects that they’re working on, the adders for the tax credits were very much part of the incentive building in energy communities, building in underserved communities.
And so, you know, those incentives that were written into the law are already demonstrating that they are going to have real on-the-ground impact for those communities that we want these investments targeted in.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question will go to Emily Blackwell. Emily, your line should be unmuted.
Q Hi, this is Greg Glover, Local 3 News. I’m sitting at Emily’s desk here. Can you go into more detail about the demand you just mentioned? Is it more from municipalities? Is it from the private sector? And —
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah.
Q Talk about that a moment. Thank you.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Great. You know, what’s staggering — and this is, I think, truly staggering — one third of the solar panels that have been installed in the United States have been installed under the Biden-Harris administration, just two years and change into this administration. One out of three of the electrons coming from solar are because of panels that went in in the last two and a half years.
The demand is coming from every quarter, from every part of the economy. The President has secured the largest investment in rural cooperatives, in rural energy since LBJ. The biggest — biggest investment in transforming rural electricity.
So, we’re seeing massive demand in solar from rural areas. We’re seeing massive demand from low- and moderate-income communities.
One of the things [senior administration official] was talking about is this bonus that you get for deploying solar, in particular in low- and moderate-income communities and in energy communities, places where maybe a coal plant shut down in the last several decades.
Deploying solar in those places actually comes with a bonus tax incentive. So, we’re seeing demand there from project developers, from community solar folks, and from families.
Last year, we saw over half a million households choose to go solar on their roof. That’s because they see that this saves them money on their bottom lines. And then, of course, we’re seeing massive demand from utility companies all across the country, including in the Southeast.
So, this is not just, you know, deployment that we’re seeing in a particular part of the country or from a particular segment of the economy. We’re seeing it in rural, we’re seeing it in Tribal, we’re seeing at the community scale and at the utility scale.
And, by the way, we’re excited to see all of this be stamped “Made in America.”
MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question will go to David Baker. David, your line should be unmuted.
David, we’re not hearing you if you are speaking.
Q Can you hear me now?
MODERATOR: Yes, we can.
Q Okay, excellent. I wanted to get more detail about the community solar project that’s being announced tomorrow. Could you tell us again the companies that are involved, the geographic area that we’re going to be looking at, where these panels and cells are going to be coming from, and how much money this is all going to cost?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Absolutely. So, the agreement is between Qcells — they’re in Dalton, Georgia — and Summit Ridge Energy. And that commitment is for 100 — or, sorry, 1.2 gigawatts of solar power. It’ll — and that’s to get out — oh, sorry. It’s to get over 140,000 homes energy.
And the projects are still being fully assessed, but they will be primarily initiating in Illinois, Maryland, and Maine, and breaking ground by the end of this year.
And so, this is the largest community solar announcement and commitment in U.S. history. And Qcells has stated that to meet this commitment of 1.2 gigawatts that they’re going to have to run their plant for eight months just to get this commitment done.
And so, it is a really large job creator in itself, beyond the rest of the jobs that Qcells is creating in their expansion that we’re going to see down the road.
And I just want to do one quick correction to a number from earlier, is that Georgia has already seen $31 billion worth of private sector investment in manufacturing since the start of the administration. And that is part of that $435 billion that we’ve seen across the nation since the start of the Biden-Harris administration.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: You know, what’s incredible here — and your question made me think of this — is, in 2021, the President articulated his theory of the case to turn America into a global energy powerhouse as we move into the clean energy economy.
I think there were a lot of skeptics that we could reshore manufacturing here to the United States. But the President, really from the first day of his administration, started working across the aisle, working with folks in Congress, working to bring together labor and industry to create the politics around passing the largest investment not only in clean energy, but the largest investment in re-industrializing America’s backbone, re-industrializing and making sure we had the capacity to produce these high-in-demand products.
He’s been successful at that. He passed historic legislation, which, by the way, is under attack by Republicans now. That historic legislation is turning into billions of dollars of investment coming in from the private sector, which, by the way, the GOP wants to turn the other direction.
He is marshalling all of our capacity to help cut costs for consumers. If we didn’t have this investment, if we didn’t have the President’s Investing in America agenda moving forward, we would not be seeing this transformation in communities all across the country, whether it’s in ships or it’s in cars of the future or it’s in these clean energy technologies. This is the product of his leadership.
And, you know, it’s not, I think — not a surprise that there are detractors who are trying to create confusion around what the Inflation Reduction Act is delivering. You know, you’ve got this event taking place in a district that is represented, theoretically represented, by someone who is trying to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which is the literal reason why this investment is taking place. It’s the reason why American families are going to save money on their bills.
So, you know, I think it’s really important to — to connect all the dots here. We passed historic legislation because of the President’s leadership — historic legislation, by the way, that cuts the deficit. And — and we’re seeing the proof on the ground now.
MODERATOR: Thank you.
Our final question will go to David Iacona- — Iaconangelo. Apologies about mispronouncing your last name. Your line should be unmuted.
Q Hi, there. Can you hear me?
MODERATOR: Yes, we can.
Q Okay, great. Thanks for doing this. My question is about — about the solar tariffs that the Commerce Department is considering now. That’s on solar imports. I guess I’m curious, you know, if Commerce does go through with these tariffs, how it might change this deal, if at all. And — and how firm are these commitments to buy solar equipment? I mean, are these contracts? Are these, sort of, just pledges to make these purchases? And also — someone might have said this earlier — I’m curious if there’s a dollar figure associated with this — the value of — of this deal.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don’t know that we have dollar figure, but we are seeing a really durable and — and really strong supply chain manifest all across the country around solar. And — and I think it’s because of the combination of policies that this administration has advanced.
You know, there is an existing set of tariffs around solar. They’re designed to level the playing field between folks who are manufacturing here in the United States and folks who are manufacturing around the world.
The President has been an incredible defender of U.S. workers in making sure they’re competing on a level playing field. And that works in tandem with an investment in our workers and investment in our communities.
And, by the way, when we deploy the solar panels here in this country now under the Inflation Reduction Act, there is domestic content requirements. So we’re creating demand for products that are sourced from the United States. We’re doing that, by the way, in purchases of energy that the U.S. government does for itself. And the results are clear: These policies are working in tandem, under the President’s leadership and the Vice President’s leadership, to spur strong, durable supply chains here in the U.S.
Anything you want to add?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah, and I think that’s an ex- — that’s a great — or Qcells is a great example of what [senior administration official] is talking about.
As part of their announcement back in January of the $2.5 billion, one of the expansion plants that they’re working on is going to be an end-to-end plant. And they’re going to have the polysilicon developed in the U.S. all the way through the end solar panel.
So, you know, this is just a demonstration that we can build these things in America, that we are building these things in America, and we’re going to build more of them, as a demonstration of — of the impact of the President’s adminis- — leadership on this.
MODERATOR: Great. Thank you all so much for joining and thank you to our speakers. As a reminder, this call is on background from senior administration officials and it is embargoed until 5:00 a.m. tomorrow.
If you would like to follow up with any of the companies that were mentioned involved with this announcement, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can follow up with contact information.
Thanks so much. Bye