Hanwha to build GW-scale solar module plant in United States, cell facility in Korea

QCells facility

Hanwha Solutions has hinted at big U.S. expansion plans recently (tied to passage of the stalled Solar Energy Manufacturing for America bill), and is ready to move forward part of that bigger vision. The company announced this week it will spend $170 million to build a 1.4-GW solar module production facility in the US. Qcells already operates a 1.7 GW module factory in Dalton, Georgia.

This newly-built factory is expected to come online as early as the first half of 2023, and will bump Qcells’ total production capacity in the U.S. over 3 GW – equivalent to one-third of current US solar module production capacity.

The company also announced its plan to expand cell production capacity in Korea, investing another $150 million to do so. When the factory expansions are complete next year, overall cell capacity in Korea will total 5.4-GW. It is the first investment in Korean solar cell manufacturing in five years.

“Growing uncertainties tell us that securing reliable, sustainable energy has become more important than ever before,” said Justin Lee, CEO of Hanwha Qcells. “To do this, Qcells will increase renewable supply from diversified sources and find cleaner ways to produce energy. That way, we will contribute to both energy security and net-zero emissions.”

Low-carbon poly investments

Hanwha Solutions also says it will secure low-carbon polysilicon from manufacturers around the world. In April, the company agreed with Korean polysilicon manufacturer OCI to receive polysilicon made in factories using carbon-free hydroelectricity. OCI will provide Hanwha with “clean polysilicon” for the next 10 years.

Other sources are providing low-carbon polysilicon to Hanwha as well. In March, the company became the largest shareholder of REC Silicon, the Norway-headquartered polysilicon manufacturer, which operates massive production facilities in the US. REC Silicon similarly uses hydropower to make solar-grade polysilicon at its production facility in Moses Lake, Washington.

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