THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hello, everyone! Hello. (Applause.) Good afternoon, everyone. Please have a seat.
Well, it is so good to be back in Georgia. And I want to thank you all for the warm welcome and, Kimberly, for that introduction and for your story and -- and talking about your mother. I often talk about my mother. I think it's a blessing to have those kinds of role models. So thank you for that introduction and your work.
And to all the incredible leaders here today, thank you. The leaders of Qcells and Summit Ridge Energy and all the workers who keep this factory running. (Applause.)
As you all know, Senator Jon Ossoff and Senator Raphael Warnock wanted to be here today. They couldn't get away. But in their absence, I'm going to talk a bit about them. And I will say that I see your senators, as they work in Washington, D.C. -- I've seen them in rooms where the camera is on and where the camera is off.
And each and every time, they are always fighting for the families of Georgia and always fighting to create good jobs and to strengthen manufacturing here in Georgia.
In fact, earlier this week, Senator Ossoff, many of you may know, was in South Korea. And he was working with leaders there from Qcells to bring more solar investment to this state. (Applause.)
And I have to tell you, I've talked with Jon Ossoff a few times, because he and I actually share a very maybe unique passion for solar energy. (Laughs.) So I'll tell you that's something he's very proud of, the work he's been doing in that regard.
So, America, our beloved country, is a nation that I believe has always been powered by the ambition and aspirations of her people.
The ambition and aspiration to see what can be, unburdened by what has been. And not just to imagine a better future, but to build it.
To build it. And that is the spirit that powers our nation, and it is the spirit that powers this city.
For generations, as we all know and has been mentioned, Dalton has been known as the carpet capital of the world. And as many of you know, the majority of the carpet sold around the globe is manufactured right here, in and around Dalton.
But when the housing market collapsed in the late 2000s, this community was hit hard -- because, you see, fewer new homes were being built, which meant less demand for carpet and flooring. And as a result, factories closed or downsized. Thousands of people in this community were laid off.
By population, in fact, at that time, Dalton lost more jobs than any other American city.
Now, I know this is a story that many of you remember because you lived it. But I tell the story because I believe more Americans should know about what has happened here in Dalton since.
In the face of incredible challenges, you showed incredible resilience. You invested in an industry of the future. You partnered with Qcells, a global clean energy company, to build a solar panel factory right here in Georgia. You worked around the clock to make this facility a success.
And today, then, this city is home to one of the largest solar panel factories in all of the United States. (Applause.) And equally significant, the panels being produced here are some of the best in the world. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes.
And so, President Joe Biden and I know this is just the beginning. Dalton, we see what you have accomplished, and we see the path that you've laid. We see a future with more jobs, more factories, and more opportunity. And we are fighting with you to make that vision real.
Since taking office, our administration has made the largest investment in solar energy in our nation's history. (Applause.)
We've strengthened domestic -- domestic supply chains to make sure America has reliable access to parts and material to build a clean energy technology and economy.
We provided tax credits to encourage companies to buy solar panels made in America. And we invested billions more to build and expand factories like this one.
And because of all this work earlier this year, Qcells announced they would invest two and a half billion dollars to build a solar facility, next door in Cartersville, to triple the size of this factory and to create 2,500 more jobs right here in Georgia. (Applause.)
And what kind of jobs are we talking about? We're talking about the jobs that are the skills that are required to be a technician, an engineer, an IT specialist, a data analyst. Jobs that give folks the opportunity to grow and advance right here in the community. And jobs that help our nation fight the climate crisis.
So, today I am proud to announce that Qcells has received a new order for two and a half million solar panels. Think about that. (Applause.) And this order was made possible by the investments that we have made to expand American manufacturing and increase demand for clean energy.
There is a nexus -- there is a nexus, when we talk about the relationship between supply and demand. It is real.
So these two and a half million panels will be used by a company called Summit Ridge Energy to build hundreds of solar arrays in states like Illinois and Maine and Maryland, because of the work that's happening right here.
These projects are known as community solar projects, which will help reach folks who otherwise might not be able to have access to solar power.
So think about it, for example: People who might live in an apartment building and do not then have access to a roof to install solar panels.
Or folks who might live in a home that is covered by shade, right? Or folks who simply cannot afford the upfront cost to place solar panels on their roof.
In all, the solar panels in this one order will provide enough electricity to power 140,000 homes.
And, on average, the electricity they generate will be 10 percent cheaper than traditional power. (Applause.)
So, Georgia, I'm here today because all of this work demonstrates a very important and probably obvious point. It shows that when we invest in climate, when we invest in clean energy, when we invest in U.S.-based manufacturing, we invest in America and her people.
All across our nation, there are communities like Dalton -- communities full of people with incredible ambition and aspiration -- who just need an opportunity to show what they can do.
President Biden and I are fighting to create that opportunity.
Since taking office, we have put millions of people to work repairing our roads, bridges, ports, and airports so that Americans can get where they need to go; replacing every lead pipe in America so our children can have clean water to drink -- (applause); building fiberoptic lines to connect rural areas with high-speed Internet so that no student -- (applause) -- as we saw far too many during the pandemic -- so that no student has to sit in a parking lot of a fast food restaurant to submit their homework over Wi-Fi. (Applause.)
So, since taking office, we have created more than 12 million jobs, including many good-paying union jobs. (Applause.)
And today, unemployment is near its lowest rate in over 50 years. (Applause.) And American manufacturing is growing faster than it has in decades.
And so, know this: Like Dalton, America is on its path. It's on its path. President Biden and I will continue to fight to create opportunity in every community.
We will continue to work to build a nation where every person, no matter where they start, can have the opportunity not only to survive, but to thrive.
And we will continue to invest in America because we know that when we do, there is no limit to what we can achieve.
God bless you all. And may God bless the United States of America. (Applause.) Thank you.