A South Korean solar cell giant is planning a US$1.8-billion manufacturing facility in the United States, now that President Joe Biden has signed a climate law that includes credits for making solar panels.
“Qcells is searching for a place to build a nine gigawatt per year manufacturing facility for their newly-branded solar panels,” writes PV Magazine. Qcells applications filed in two Texas districts say the facility will include a “fully integrated value chain from ingot, wafer, cell, and module,” or nearly all the components of a solar panel, the news story adds.
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Qcells’ parent company Hanwha Solutions “happens to control the largest solar polysilicon manufacturing in North America,” PV Magazine says. So key materials like glass and some components like frames will be trucked in.
The Seoul-based company is also considering locations in South Carolina and near its existing U.S. facility in Georgia. “Qcells has not yet announced these ambitions publicly,” the industry magazine states. “However, these plans align with their public position of investing in U.S. manufacturing capacity—if and when the solar module manufacturing credits were passed as part of a climate bill.”
Qcells’ total investment is expected to be at be at least US$1.829 billion—US$461 million of which will be paid to construction workers, with almost 4,000 jobs created during peak construction in the second year. Once the plant is built, “the company expects there to be several thousand permanent jobs at the site,” PV Magazine adds.
Overall, Qcells, which already has the largest share of the country’s solar panel market, is aiming for 12.1 GW of panel assembly capacity in the U.S. The company will decide on a location for its latest plant by the end of the year, begin construction in 2023, and complete the project in the first quarter of 2024, according to local news reports.
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