Photovoltaic manufacturer Qcells, an affiliate of the Hanwha Group, announced it will invest over $2.5 billion to build the first fully-integrated, silicon-based solar supply chain, from raw material to finished panel, in the United States, which represents the largest ever clean energy investment to date in the country.
In the first quarter of 2023, Qcells will break ground on a new, state-of-the-art facility in the city of Cartersville, in Bartow County, Georgia, to manufacture 3.3 GW of solar ingots, wafers, cells, and finished panels, aiming to have 8.4-gigawatt of solar panel production capacity by 2024 and hire 2,500 people in the clean-energy sector in Georgia.
Qcells will also expand its annual solar panel production to 5.1 GW at its solar panel manufacturing plant in Dalton, Georgia by 2023, by building a third module manufacturing facility at this location to produce an additional 2 GW of solar panels per year.
According to the Q4 2022 U.S. PV Leaderboard report from Wood Mackenzie, as of the third quarter 2022, Qcells has topped the U.S. residential solar module market for five years running, from 2018 to 2022, and has also been the leading module provider for the U.S. commercial sector since 2019.
This investment will also ensure Qcells maintains its leadership in the U.S. solar market. With this intent, Hanwha Solutions, owner of the complete energy solutions provider Q CELLS, announced in April last year, plans to revitalize the U.S. solar market by becoming the largest shareholder of REC Silicon, a major U.S. polysilicon manufacturer operating two polysilicon manufacturing facilities, one in Moses Lake, Washington, and a second one in Butte, Montana.
Efforts are also underway to manufacture low-carbon polysilicon at the REC Silicon’s factory in Moses Lake, Washington, which is powered by emission-free hydroelectricity. That facility will restart production in the second half of 2023.
Source: Press release by Qcells. Photo credit: Qcells. Conceptual rendering of the new manufacturing facility.