Clean energy solutions provider Qcells, a subsidiary of South Korean conglomerate Hanwha Group, announced today that it will invest more than $2.5 billion to build a complete solar supply chain in the U.S., marking both the company’s largest investment and the largest investment in the U.S. solar industry to date.
In its statement announcing the investment plans, Qcells cited the passage of the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act within the Inflation Reduction Act as providing certainty for investors in clean energy, and the rapidly increasing demand for US-made solar panels driven by efforts to ensure energy independence.
President Biden lauded the announcement in a White House statement, calling it “a big deal for Georgia’s working families and the American economy,” and “a direct result of my economic plan and the Inflation Reduction Act.”
“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. It’s a win for workers, consumers, and our climate.”
The new initiative will see Qcells break ground in early 2023 on a new manufacturing facility for solar ingots, wafers, cells, and finished panels in Bartow County, Georgia, and assemble 2 GW of solar panels at its existing facility in Dalton, Georgia. Overall, Qcells anticipates growing its solar panel production capacity in the state to 8.4 GW by 2024.
The company said that the investment will establish Qcells as the only company in the U.S. to make a fully-integrated, silicon-based solar supply chain, spanning raw materials to finished panels.
Justin Lee, CEO of Qcells, said:
“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. We are committed to working with our customers as well as national and Georgia state leaders to bring completely clean energy to millions of people across the country.”
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), passed last year by the Biden administration, includes the U.S.’ largest ever set of climate-focused investments, allocating nearly $370 billion to areas including renewable energy and industrial decarbonization solutions, including over $60 billion to accelerate domestic manufacturing of clean energy and transportation technologies through production and investment tax credits, loans and grants.
The climate bill formed part of a series of moves by the Biden administration to support the expansion of domestic renewable energy manufacturing capacity, including invoking the Defense Production Act – normally reserved for the needs of national defense – in order to accelerate domestic production of solar panel parts and other clean energy technologies.
Qcells’ plan is the latest in a series of major solar investments to be announced since the IRA’s passage, including a $1.2 billion expansion announced by First Solar to significantly scale its PV solar module manufacturing capacity in the U.S.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said:
“By building out a strong, reliable solar supply chain in America, we will tackle the climate crisis head-on while also creating good paying, manufacturing jobs right here at home.”