Solar manufacturer Hanwha Q Cells announced Wednesday that it will invest more than $2.5 billion in building up the U.S. solar supply chain and creating 2,500 jobs in Georgia, in what the company and federal and state officials say is the largest such investment in U.S. history.
The subsidiary of South Korean industrial group Hanwha Corp. unveiled plans to build a second plant in Georgia that will manufacture 3.3 GW of solar components and panels a year.
The company also plans to assemble an additional 2 GW a year of solar panels at its original plant in Dalton, Georgia to reach 5.1 GW of annual production by 2023, as it works to reach a goal of 8.4 GW of total annual solar panel production capacity by 2024.
Qcells plans to break ground on the second plant, in Bartow County, in the first quarter of 2023 and begin commercial production by late 2024.
The company’s Dalton factory was producing 1.7 GW of solar modules each year and is being overhauled to increase output to 3.1 GW as Qcells raises its U.S. output by a total of 6.7 GW over the next two years.
In Qcells’ release, U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Georgia, called the expansion “the largest clean energy manufacturing project in American history” and celebrated the company’s plan to create almost 2,500 jobs in his state.
U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia, said the announcement follows “months of close collaboration with Qcells, Senate leadership, and the administration to make the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act a reality.”
The Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act was sponsored by Ossoff and included in the Inflation Reduction Act, adding a new tax credit for domestic production of solar components including photovoltaic cells and wafers.
Qcells’ announcement comes as the solar industry is experiencing global supply constraints from an ongoing tariff investigation, the enactment of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, and the lingering impacts of the pandemic on the supply chain.
As solar panel supply has become less certain, demand is rising after the Inflation Reduction Act extended and increased a number of tax credits for solar projects and manufacturing.
“The demand for American-made solar panels is increasing rapidly driven by the efforts to ensure energy independence, and Qcells’ domestic manufacturing expansion will fulfill the growing need for these clean energy solutions,” the company said.