Korean solar panel maker hiring more workers at its factory in Dalton, Georgia

The 200,000-square-foot factory built by the Korean solar panel maker Hanwha Q Cells began production in February and has grown to 600 employees. The compmany is hiring another 50 workers as it reaches its full 1.7 gigawatt annual capacity. / Contributed photo by Hanwha Q CELLS

The largest solar panel production facility of its kind in the Western Hemisphere is continuing to add staff at its $157 million factory in Dalton, Georgia, which began production six months ago.

The Korean solar panel maker Hanwha Q CELLS is conducting a hiring fair Thursday in Dalton, Georgia, as it adds another 50 jobs at its 200,000-square-foot plant in the Carbondale Business Park in Dalton. The plant already employs 600 workers and is expects to reach full production - and to conduct a ceremonial ribbon cutting - in the next month.

"Our first products shipped from the factory this February," said Scott Moskowitz, director of strategy and market intelligence for Hanwha Q Cells. "All production lines are currently running and we expect to be at full 1.7 gigawatt annual capacity in the very near future,"

The Georgia Department of Labor is partnering with Hanwha Q Cells USA Inc. to host a job fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the Dalton Career Center at 1406 Chattanooga Ave. The solar maker is looking to fill immediate openings for manufacturing operator positions, a logistic specialist, and a purchasing specialist.

Job seekers may visit employgeorgia.com to create an account and submit a resume. Applicants are encouraged to bring their resumes, driver's licenses and dress business casual to today's job fair to improve their chances to be hired.

The job hiring comes as Hanwha Q CELLS continues to challenge alleged patent infringements of its technology by rival solar makers in China and Denmark. The U.S. International Trade Commission voted in April to launch an investigation of Hanwha Q CELLS' complaints against JinkoSolar, LONGi Solar and REC Group.

Most solar panels are being produced in Asia, which led the United States to impose a 25 percent tariff on solar panel imports in 2017. While the tariffs encouraged Hanwha Q CELLS to produce in the United States, the company claims it is being hurt by companies that have improperly taken its technology.

Hanwha Q Cells wants the ITC to issue a cease and desist order against the three rival firms using the passivation technology which the Korean company bills as Q.ANTUM solar cells and the company says is protected by its patents. Such ITC complaints typically take more than a year to investigate before any actions are taken.

Hanwha Q Cells is making its Q.Peak Duo L-G5 modules at the factory, which comprise 144 half-cut mono-PERC cells, given them an equivalent format of a traditional 72-cell module. The modules will be supplying one of the largest solar projects in the South at the 102.5 megawatt solar farm being developed by Silicon Ranch to supply renewable power to a new Facebook data center in Newton, Georgia.