Senate passes 'Buy American' solar amendment for DOD
The U.S. Senate passed the Buy American Solar Amendment Thursday night, Dec. 1, as part of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, ensuring that "Buy American" requirements apply to all photovoltaic devices that supply power to Department of Defense property or facilities, according to a same-day release from Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), who co-sponsored the amendment with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
The Department of Defense is required to comply with the Buy American Act and purchase American-made goods, including solar panels. In practice, however, the Buy American requirements often do not apply to solar projects at military facilities because third-party producers procure, install and maintain solar panels, financed by innovative long-term energy contracts with the department. Since the Department of Defense buys the power, and not necessarily the solar panels, a loophole in Buy American requirements has emerged where the military can purchase power from producers who do not use Buy American compliant panels.
The Buy American Solar Amendment will close this loophole and create a level playing field for U.S. solar manufacturers, according to the release.