Jan 11, 2022 - World

Exclusive: U.S. voters concerned about solar panel forced labor

Data: Morning Consult; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

A majority of U.S. voters are concerned about forced labor in China's solar panel industry, a new survey of registered voters conducted by Morning Consult finds.

Why it matters: China produces about three-quarters of the world's solar panels, which many view as vital to reducing carbon emissions.

  • But some of China's top solar panel producers have been linked to coerced labor in Xinjiang, leading the U.S. first to ban importing polysilicon from Xinjiang used in the panels, and later all products made there.

Details: Survey respondents consistently expressed support for domestic U.S. production of solar panels and for avoiding solar panels made in China with inputs from forced labor, Morning Consult found.

  • 83% of respondents said it was very important or somewhat important that U.S. lawmakers ensure federal tax dollars aren't used to buy solar panels from China that are made with inputs from forced labor.
  • 80% of respondents strongly agreed or somewhat agreed the U.S. should rely on solar panels made domestically through methods that produce lower carbon emissions than factories in China, some of which are coal powered.
  • 79% said they were very concerned or somewhat concerned about forced labor in Chinese-made solar panels.

The bottom line: U.S. voters want an ethical transition to green energy.

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