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Contributed photo / Hanwha Q Cells USA completed construction of the largest solar module manufacturing plant in North America in Dalton, Georgia in 2019. The Korean company is looking to invest another $170 million in the United States to boost solar panel output.

The parent company of solar manufacturer Qcells, which builds solar panels at a $200 million facility in Dalton in Northwest Georgia, announced Friday that it will invest another $170 million to boost production in the U.S.

South Korea-based Hanwha Solutions, which owns Qcells, said the money will allow the company to produce an additional 1.4 gigawatts of solar panels each year.

A company spokesperson did not specify where the new U.S. facility would be located or whether it will involve an expansion of its existing plant in Dalton. That facility, which opened in 2019, produces roughly 1.7 gigawatts of panels each year and employs approximately 750 people, according to the company.

Combined with the Dalton facility, the yet-to-be built plant will allow Qcells to build 3 gigawatts worth of solar panels annually, equal to one-third of all U.S.-based solar production capacity, the company said. The new manufacturing operation is expected to open in early 2023.

Hanwha Solutions said it would also pump $150 million into ramping up its solar production at an existing factory in South Korea.

The moves come as the solar industry, which is key to the global push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change, faces major headwinds. Georgia Power recently announced that nearly 1,000 megawatts of planned solar installations are now delayed by a year, as supply chain issues slow the company's transition to renewable energy.

Qcells said the expansions will help it weather the ongoing turbulence.

"The last two years in the solar industry have proven the benefits of localized manufacturing," said Scott Moskowitz, Qcells' head of market strategy and public affairs. "No single factor has determined our expansion plans, but there is strong demand for U.S.-assembled products and our goal is to best serve our customers through our long-haul commitment to the U.S. market."

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