Surprisingly, many American companies make solar panels outside of the U.S., and many foreign companies are opening factories to make solar panels in America. This can make it hard to determine what exactly is “American made” on the market today.
The shift toward greater production of solar panels in the US started with introducing an import tariff on solar panels during the Trump administration. This results in many American and foreign companies opening factories in the US instead of taxing panels into the US.
American Made Solar Panels You Can Buy
If you’ve researched solar panels, you probably found there are many brands to choose from. This list includes Tesla, LG, SunPower, and Panasonic, to name just a few. However, there are only several American-made solar panels.
We’ve gathered some of the best solar panel manufacturers in the country. The panels made in the US are perfect as ground-mounted solar panels or installed in sloped or flat roofs.
Panasonic Solar Panels and Tesla
Through its partnership with Tesla, Japanese brand Panasonic opened one of the biggest solar manufacturing plants in the US. It is in Buffalo, New York, in Tesla’s Gigafactory 2. Panasonic manufactures monocrystalline panels and cells, which are a great choice if you’re looking for a premium panel with better peak power.
Not only that but Tesla also manufactures solar products like batteries in their facility in Nevada. For years, the company has shown its commitment to generating more jobs in the solar industry.
Tesla may also produce their solar cells and tiles for the Tesla Solar Roof in their US facility. However, the company’s solar products are not made entirely in the US. This is because they still have international manufacturers like Canadian Solar, LG, and Kyocera.
This Chinese manufacturing company announced that it would build a manufacturing plant in the US. This was in 2018 before Trump implemented its solar import tariff. However, that project did not come through.
Instead, Jinko solar partnered with NextEra Energy, a US-based energy company. They have a facility to produce 400 megawatts of solar panels each year.
One of the most popular subsidiaries of NextEra Energy is Florida Light Power. They will likely receive most solar panels for their power plants. For example, this company recently shared that they plan to purchase a whopping 7 million panels from Jinko. This is in the hope of increasing their use of renewable energy.
Jinko recently started building its manufacturing facility. But they have not disclosed how much solar energy it will produce.
First Solar announced in 2019 that their total annual production capacity in the US is 1.9 gigawatts. This makes them the largest solar panel manufacturer in the US, with two facilities in Ohio.
The company’s decision to expand its solar footprint in the country created 500 new manufacturing jobs. It also made them the largest solar manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere.
Aside from the US, they also have manufacturing facilities in Malaysia and Vietnam. All their global manufacturing capacity amounts to 6.7 gigawatts.
Hanwha Q Cells
This solar panel manufacturer from South Korea declared in May 2018 that they would build a plant in the US. This facility will be capable of making 1.6 gigawatts of solar panels annually. It will be the biggest silicon Photovoltaic manufacturing facility located in the country.
The company’s facility in Whitfield County, Georgia, started producing solar panels in March 2021. But it is still unclear whether or not they are operating at full capacity.
Hanwha Q Cells filed a lawsuit against REC Group, Jinko Solar, and LONGi solar for infringing on its patents. This issue made a big impact on the international solar panel companies that have operations in America.
This US-based manufacturer of solar panels creates some of the most efficient solar power systems in the country. These products include the X-Series and A-Series solar panels, which exceed 22 percent efficiency.
The brand has a facility in Oregon to build models like the P19 series and other solar panels. This facility formerly housed SolarWorld before SunPower buys it after it went bankrupt.
In early 2019, the plant started producing 220 megawatts of solar panels per year. This full production helped the brand cement its name as one of the biggest solar companies in the world.
Despite this, SunPower also makes high-efficiency solar panels that use Maxeon technology in the Philippines and Malaysia. These solar cells are then sent to their facilities in France and Mexico for assembly.
One of the largest US-made solar panel manufacturers globally, this South Korean brand announced in 2019 that they would be installing two solar panel manufacturing lines in their facilities in Huntsville, Alabama.
The LG Solar facility was finally complete in 2019. It plans to produce 500 megawatts of solar panels each year.
Based in Ontario, Canada, this company manufactures most of its panels there. However, they also have a facility in Minnesota. This makes them eligible to qualify for the Minnesota Solar Incentive Program. The program offers cash payments to solar system owners in the area who install panels manufactured in the state. The company is soon to expand its manufacturing facility in the area soon.
Canada-based company Silfab solar recently invested $40 million in Itek Energy. Itek Energy is a US solar modules manufacturer with production facilities in Bellingham, Washington, and Minneapolis. The company has a 700-megawatt manufacturing capacity, and its products are deployed in 33 states. Thanks to this new partnership, they can meet greater demand from the US market.
Why Does Buying American Matter?
Many Americans choose solar panels made in the USA because they are effective and very durable. Other parameters of quality solar panel owners use include its specifications, how many you can fit on your roof, whether or not the solar panels make noise, and how quickly they can be installed.
Some of the best solar panel systems are made in the US. However, that does not mean other panels manufactured outside the country are not reputable.
For instance, brands like SunPower have their own headquarters in the US. But some of their solar panels are manufactures in the Philippines and China. Despite this, the brand is still one of the best in the industry.
If you want to get American-made panels because of patriotic or other reasons, that’s great. However, make sure you find the correct balance between design, solar panels cost, the solar panel system you can fit in your home, and their effectiveness.
Biggest American Made Solar Panels Import Tariff
The solar import tariff is put in place by former US President Donald Trump in 2018. During that time, the US placed a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels. The tariffs made imported solar panels 45 percent more expensive than panels made by American solar manufacturers.
Because of this, the number of solar panel facilities in the country has increased. International manufacturers have even set up their facilities in the US to avoid these expensive tariffs on imported panels.
In February 2022, the tariff is soon to expire. However, US President Joe Biden and the new administration have backed solar panel import tariffs to focus on solar panels made in the USA.
Fortunately, there are local incentives in place that make up for these tariffs. Incentives like the Federal Tax Credit allow people to deduct a significant amount of money from their tax declaration.
Are You Getting Solar Panels Made in the US?
Most of the solar panels are imported sold in the US. But many solar panel manufacturers have built manufacturing sites in America. While these companies’ headquarters may not be in the US or are subsidiaries of foreign brands, they still manufacture or assemble their companies in the country.
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