Contact Us

South Korean Solar Firm To Spend $2.5B Building Massive Georgia Plant


A South Korean solar panel maker is greatly expanding its manufacturing presence in Georgia with a $2.5B investment as clean energy companies race to gobble up lucrative federal tax credits passed under the Biden administration.

Qcells, owned by Seoul-based Hanwha Group, announced Wednesday that it will build a new solar panel manufacturing facility outside Cartersville and add a third building to its Dalton location, creating 2,500 new jobs and expanding solar panel production capacity to 8.4 gigawatts by 2024. The move would increase Qcells' employee base in Georgia to 4,000 workers.

Qcells said it will break ground this quarter on a new 3.3-gigawatt facility at Highland 75 Corporate/Industrial Park in Bartow County, roughly 50 miles from Downtown Atlanta.

The subsidiary of Hanwha, a conglomerate that was founded in 1952 as Korea Explosives Co., also plans a new facility adjacent to its solar plant at 300 Nexus Drive in Dalton, the largest solar panel plant in the Western Hemisphere, which opened in 2019, according to a Georgia press release

Qcells also plans to expand its facilities to produce its own solar panel components, including ingots, solar cells and wafers, which today are typically manufactured overseas, the Wall Street Journal reported

"Qcells has long been a pioneer in the solar industry, and it solidified Georgia’s place as a leader in renewable energy and sustainable technology when it cut the ribbon on the largest solar panel manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere in 2019," Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson said in a press release. 

Yoonie Kim, director of Korean investments with the state Economic Development Department, led the negotiations with Qcells, according to the release. 

The new investment comes after Congress passed a bevy of new tax incentives to encourage the domestic production and use of clean energy technologies. Since the Inflation Reduction Act's passage last year, manufacturers have announced $40B in battery, wind and solar plants, the WSJ reported, with another $40B spent on deploying clean energy.

Qcells could reap around $561M in tax credits a year with the new plants, according to the WSJ. Qcells told the WSJ that it was still looking to build more plants outside of Georgia, including possibly in Texas.

Despite the slowdown during the pandemic, the solar industry experienced a 33% growth rate over the past 10 years, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Electricity providers in Georgia generate 13.6% of the state's electricity through renewables, including 4% from solar, the WSJ reported.