Korean solar manufacturer QCells will build a 3.3-GW-capacity plant in Bartow County, Ga. as part of a $2.5-billion investment in “a complete solar supply chain” in the U.S. with everything from raw material to finished solar panel, the firm said Jan. 11.
QCells said it plans to break ground on the plant by April to manufacture solar ingots, wafers, cells and finished panelsm and will expand the capacity of its existing Dalton, Ga., solar panel plant by 2 GW.
This is on top of another project to expand Dalton plant capacity from 1.7 GW to 3.1 GWthat started last year. Lexington, Ky.-based Gray Construction built the initial plant and is working on the expansion. Neither the contractor nor QCells responded to inquiries about contracting for upcoming projects.
The newly announced projects would bring QCells’ solar panel production capacity to 8.4 GW by 2024. The projects mark the largest investment to date by QCells’ parent company, Seoul-based Hanwha Solutions.
In a statement, Gov. Brian Kemp said Georgia offers manufacturers “robust logistics infrastructure [and a] top-ranked workforce training program.”
The Inflation Reduction Act, which President Joe Biden signed last August, extends tax incentives for use of U.S.-made solar equipment and establishes tax credits for manufacturers. Even before the law was passed, the solar sector has seen an average annual growth rate of 33% over the past decade, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, although businesses in the sector have raised concerns about import tariffs on still needed Asian components.
“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,” QCells CEO Justin Lee said in a statement.
The QCells projects join a slate of others poised to take advantage of the incentives.
Last month, Bill Gates-backed startup CubicPV said it was searching for a U.S. location to build a 10-GW solar wafer factory. Solar manufacturers including First Solar, Enel Group and Mission Solar Energy have also announced plans to build domestic facilities.