South Korean Company Plans to Invest $2.5 Billion in New Solar Panel Factories in Georgia
The future looks bright for the solar industry in the U.S., with average yearly growth predicted to be 21 percent from 2023 to 2027, thanks to the passage of last year’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Solar Energy Industries Association reported. Companies that make solar panel components are eligible to claim tax credits under the IRA.
Not only is the solar industry growing, it’s going to have to import fewer of its solar panels when South Korean solar panel manufacturer Qcells sets up shop in the American South. A unit of Hanwha Solutions, Qcells has plans to build factories in Georgia at a cost of $2.5 billion, reported The Associated Press. It will also hire 2,500 new employees to make solar components that are usually produced outside of the U.S.
Qcells will begin construction on a new factory in Cartersville, Georgia, within weeks that will employ 2,000 people and begin production before the end of next year.
The company’s Dalton plant is the biggest solar panel maker in the Western Hemisphere, and it has plans to add 500 new jobs there.
“As demand for clean energy continues to grow nationally, we’re ready to put thousands of people to work creating fully American made and sustainable solar solutions, from raw material to finished panels,” said Qcells CEO Justin Lee, as The New York Times reported.
In a statement, President Joe Biden said the announcement by Qcells meant lower cost solar panels, good jobs and reduced carbon emissions.
“Hanwha’s Q CELLS investment will create thousands of good-paying jobs in Georgia, many of which won’t require a four-year degree. It will bring back our supply chains so we aren’t reliant on other countries, lower the cost of clean energy, and help us combat the climate crisis. And, it will ensure that we manufacture cutting-edge, solar technology here at home,” President Biden said, according to a White House press release.
The plant in Cartersville will assemble solar cells and panels, as well as other components.
Director of President Biden’s National Economic Council Brian Deese said integrating the supply chain will help stop China’s control of the supply of solar panel components and free up supply chains overseas, reported The Associated Press.
After the company’s expansions, Qcells will produce about 10,000 solar panels capable of producing 8.4 gigawatts of electricity — 3.3 gigawatts of capacity in Cartersville and 5.1 gigawatts in Dalton.
“By 2027, the Qcells expansion is projected to supply about 30% of total U.S. demand for solar panels,” said Senior Advisor to President Joe Biden for clean energy innovation and implementation John Podesta, as The Associated Press reported. “I think it’s fair to say that this deal is President Biden’s vision come to life.”
National Climate Adviser for the Biden Administration Ali Zaidi said the production of solar panels by U.S. factories was set to more than quadruple to 33.5 gigawatts by next year, which is “enough to enable about 5 million homes to switch to clean solar energy each year,” Zaidi said, as reported by The Associated Press.