Federal taxpayer dollars would not be used to buy solar panels manufactured or assembled in China under legislation introduced by U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
The Keep China Out of Solar Energy Act, S. 1062, which Sens. Blackburn and Capito cosponsored on March 25 with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and several other Republicans, specifically would prohibit the U.S. purchase of solar panels from China’s Xinjiang province, where forced labor takes place, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.
“The Xinjiang province of China is a major producer of the world’s solar grade polysilicon,” Sen. Capito said. “Given the Chinese Communist Party’s egregious human rights violations and forced labor of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang province, it is imperative that we investigate the global supply chain for solar panels.”
“As President Joe Biden’s radical Green New Deal causes demand for solar energy to increase, we will not allow Beijing to profit from abusing the human rights of the Uyghur minority,” added Sen. Blackburn. “Under no circumstances should the United States government be purchasing solar panels made with forced labor in Xinjiang.”
Sen. Capito agreed, pointing out that as the demand for clean energy initiatives grows, the United States government “cannot support entities that benefit from these atrocities, especially while many have lost their jobs domestically as a result of these new energy initiatives.”
If enacted, S. 1062 would require the director of the Office of Management and Budget to develop the standards and guidelines to meet such a goal, as well as to conduct an independent study of the domestic market of solar panel production and the global supply chain and workforce involved in solar panel production, the bill summary says.
S. 1062 also would require the U.S. Comptroller to submit a report to Congress on the number of solar panels procured by federal departments and agencies from covered entities.