South Korea — Hanwha Solutions, the Korean company that owns Qcells, announced a $320 million investment plan for solar manufacturing expansion in the United States and Korea.
Hanwha said it will seek to spend $170 million building a 1.4-gigawatt solar module production facility in the U.S.
Qcells already operates a 1.7-gigawatt module factory in Dalton, Georgia. With the newly-built factory expected to come online as early as the first half of 2023, Qcells’ total production capacity in the U.S. will exceed 3 gigawatt – equivalent to one-third of current U.S. solar module production capacity.
The company also announced its plan to expand cell production capacity in Korea. By investing $150 million, the company will expand its cell factory there. When the factory expansions are complete next year, the overall cell capacity in Korea will be 5.4-gigawatts. It is the first investment in Korean solar cell manufacturing in five years.
“Growing uncertainties tell us that securing reliable, sustainable energy has become more important than ever before,” said Justin Lee, CEO of Hanwha Qcells. “To do this, Qcells will increase renewable supply from diversified sources and find cleaner ways to produce energy. That way, we will contribute to both energy security and net-zero emissions.”
To improve and further decarbonize its solar panel production process, Hanwha Solutions will secure low-carbon polysilicon from manufacturers around the world. In April, the company agreed with Korean polysilicon manufacturer OCI to receive polysilicon made in factories using carbon-free hydroelectricity. OCI will provide Hanwha with “clean polysilicon” for the next 10 years.
Other sources are providing low-carbon polysilicon to Hanwha as well.
In March, the company became the largest shareholder of REC Silicon, the Norway-headquartered polysilicon manufacturer, which operates massive production facilities in the U.S. REC Silicon similarly uses hydropower to make solar-grade polysilicon at its production facility in Moses Lake, Washington.
Hanwha Solutions’ says its decision to expand the Qcells’ module factory in the U.S. comes as a part of its effort to help rebuild the domestic U.S. solar supply chain. That it’ll create good-paying job opportunities for generations to come. Already employing approximately 750 staff at its module production facility in the U. S., Hanwha aims to further boost the number of local jobs with the opening of the new module production facility.