Georgia will soon have what will likely be the largest PV manufacturing facility in the US, a plant capable of producing 1.6 gigawatts of solar panels a year. That’s because yesterday (May 30) South Korea’s Hanwha Q Cells announced that it will build a solar panel manufacturing facility in Whitfield County, GA.
The company is the latest foreign PV manufacturer to announce that it will build a facility in the US. Earlier this year China’s JinkoSolar announced it would build a manufacturing facility in Florida where it will be able to produce roughly 400 megawatts of solar panels annually. The company plans to begin construction this year and be completed in 2019.
The move was heralded by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R). His office cited the $150 million investment from Hanwha and the 500 jobs it will create.
“Georgia 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,” Deal said. “By establishing a presence in Whitfield County, Hanwha Q Cells Korea will join a number of Korean-affiliated companies that operate at least 80 facilities in our state.”
Other companies also have announced plans to increase US manufacturing of solar panels, including US-based SunPower, which has manufacturing overseas. SunPower announced it is purchasing SolarWorld Americas in Oregon to produce some of its solar panels there.
Those companies are moving to produce solar panels in the US in part to avoid import tariffs imposed on silicon panels and tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration. However, the tariffs are slated to end in 2021.
Japan’s Panasonic also announced that it will manufacture solar cells and panels in the US. That company has started manufacturing solar panels and cells through a partnership made with Tesla at the Gigafactory in Buffalo, NY. However, that partnership was made prior to Trump’s election and tariffs.
“The new manufacturing fab is testament to Hanwha Q Cells Korea's commitment to the US market, in spite of the recently imposed trade barriers,” Hanwha stated in a release. The company said the US was the second largest market for solar in 2017 and is one of its most important markets. “Upon commencement of manufacturing activities in the U.S. fab, Hanwha Q Cells Korea will supply high quality PERC modules to the roof-top and ground-mounted segments in the US.”
Hanwha already has manufacturing facilities in South Korea, China and Malaysia. The new facility in the US will produce panels for rooftop as well as commercial markets in the US.Tweet