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Korean Firm Plans To Invest $2.5bln To Build Solar Panel Plants In Georgia

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Korean firm plans $2.5B in new solar panel plants in Georgia

(CTN NEWS) – ATLANTA –  A South Korean solar panel company announced Wednesday that it would invest more than $2.5 billion to develop plants in Georgia, the largest solar investment in American history.

Qcells, a company of Hanwha Solutions, expects to fulfill 30% of U.S. solar panel demand by 2027, including making components.

Qcells CEO Justin Lee said, “As demand for clean energy continues to expand nationally, we’re ready to put thousands of people to work providing wholly American-made and sustainable solar solutions, from raw material to finished panels.”

President Joe Biden called the announcement “a win for workers, customers, and our climate,” saying it will create excellent jobs, reduce American reliance on foreign solar components, drop solar panel prices, and lower carbon emissions.

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The August climate change and health care law Biden signed would hire 2,000 workers in a $2.31 billion factory in Cartersville, 35 miles (55 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta.

Georgia Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock included tax rebates for solar panel part manufacturers in the statute.

Silicon ingots, wafers, and solar cells will be produced at Cartersville. The startup will employ Moses Lake, Washington-made REC Silicon polysilicon.

Hanwha bought 21% of Norway-listed REC last year. The company also contracted with Ferroglobe’s Alloy, West Virginia plant for silicon metal.

Biden’s National Economic Council director Brian Deese claimed supply-chain integration would shatter China’s monopoly on solar panel components and untangle global supply chains.

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Deese said the climate change and health care package is an example of the industrial strategy Biden wants, “to make sure that innovation is happening here, good job creation is happening here, and we are exporting things in the clean energy economy, not exporting jobs.”

Qcells develops solar modules in Dalton, 75 miles (120 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta, that generate 1.7 gigawatts of electricity annually. Last year, the corporation announced a $171 million second phase for 470 personnel.

Wednesday, it announced a $181 million third phase that will add 500 jobs to the 1,700 already there.

After expansions, the company will produce 8.4 gigawatts of modules, or 10,000 solar panels, in the US. Dalton will have 5.1 gigawatts and Cartersville 3.3.

“My goal continues to make Georgian the global leader in advanced power generation,” Ossoff stated.

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Warnock, Ossoff, and Biden administration officials think Biden’s renewable energy agenda is improving manufacturing.

“I believe it’s fair to say that this contract is President Biden’s vision come to life,” Biden renewable energy adviser John Podesta told reporters.

Semiconductors, clean energy, electric vehicles, and batteries have invested $300 billion under the Biden administration, with approximately $25 billion in Georgia.

In December, Cartersville announced a $4 billion battery plant and two $5 billion electric vehicle plants.

Hyundai Motor Group is establishing one vehicle facility and the Cartersville battery plant alongside SK Group.

Last year, Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp won reelection on his economic management. Georgia has targeted electric vehicle and battery plants.

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State Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson stated,

“Qcells has long been a pioneer in the solar sector, and it reaffirmed Georgia’s standing as a leader in renewable energy and sustainable technologies when it cut the ribbon on the largest solar panel production facility in the Western Hemisphere in 2019.”

Ali Zaidi, Biden’s national climate adviser, said U.S. factories are on track to more than triple solar panel output by 2024, from 7 gigawatts when Biden took office to 33.5 gigawatts.

Zaidi claimed that would allow 5 million homes to switch to clean solar energy annually.

State and local incentives were unclear. Qcells may receive more than $65 million in state income tax credits at $5,250 per job over five years if workers earn at least $31,300. Local officials said Dalton Qcells workers start at $17 an hour.

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