Korean firm plans to hire 500 workers for new $150 million solar module plant in Dalton

Korean firm plans to hire 500 workers for new $150 million solar module plant in Dalton

May 30th, 2018 by Dave Flessner in Breaking News

This story was updated May 30, 2018, at 11:21 p.m. with more information.

A Korean manufacturer of solar panels plans to build a $150 million plant in Dalton, Georgia, and create 500 jobs over the next three years.

Hanwha Q CELLS Korea announced plans Wednesday to build a 300,000-square-foot factory in the Carbondale Business Park along Interstate 75 in Whitfield County, Georgia, to produce and assemble photovoltaic modules, beginning in the first quarter of next year.

Carbondale Business Park is along Interstate 75 in Whitfield County, Georgia.

Carbondale Business Park is along Interstate 75 in...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

"We are excited to bring our technology leadership to Georgia in manufacturing solar modules and look forward to building long-term relationships to further expand our manufacturing base and contribute to environmentally sustainable energy solutions," said James Choi, vice president of Hanwha Q CELLS Korea.

The announcement of the new solar panel maker comes four months after President Trump slapped a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels, most of which come from China, for the next three years. The International Trade Commission determined that imports of solar panels had hurt U.S. manufacturers.

Carl Campbell, executive director of the Dalton/Whitfield Joint Development Authority, said local authorities had already been working with Hanwha Q CELLS "and that action only reinforced what they were already looking at doing." Campbell said Dalton had a site graded and ready to build on with a central location along I-75 for delivery of products throughout the U.S. or for export around the globe.

"We had a site where they can start building right away and stay on their timeline for production in early 2019," Campbell said. "Logistically, we are in a fantastic place for getting your people and products to the world and we are a manufacturing community with the infrastructure that they need."

Hanwha will be only the second tenant in the 200-acre Carbonale Business Park (XL Brands was the first), which was developed in 2010 to help recruit new industry to Dalton. Hanwha Q will use about 44 acres of the park.

"We are confident they will be successful here and be a great addition to our manufacturing base," Whitfield County Commission Chair Lynn Laughter said.

The new plant will be the biggest ever for an Asian company in Whitfield County and the biggest new employer in the Dalton area since Engineered Flooring expanded into Dalton in 2013.

Hanwha Q. Cells

Hanwha Q. Cells

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Hanwha Q CELLS is headquartered in South Korea and currently operates manufacturing facilities in Malaysia and China. The company is among 80 Korean-based businesses that have located in Georgia.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said the state "has maintained strong partnerships with Korean businesses for more than three decades and this announcement is yet another reflection of our reputation as a premier destination for international business.

"As the No. 1 state for business, Georgia offers the skilled workforce and extensive manufacturing resources needed for Hanwha Q CELLS Korea to maintain its competitive edge in the global solar industry," Deal said in an announcement of the new manufacturer Wednesday.

State and local governments are providing the company its property along with property tax breaks, job tax credits and other training assistance through the Georgia Quick Start program.

Founded in April 2011, Hanwha Q CELLS Korea is an affiliate of Hanwha Group and a sister company to Hanwha Q CELLS Co., Ltd., one of the worlds largest solar cell producers. Hanwha Q CELLS Korea operates production sites for solar cells and solar modules in South Korea. Hanwha Q CELLS Co., Ltd. is a global leading photovoltaic manufacturer of high-performance, high-quality solar cells and modules.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.