By Carol A. Gasser Moore
GEORGIA – Governor Brian P. Kemp announced that Qcells, one of the largest and most-recognized renewable energy solutions providers, will invest more than $2.5 billion to expand its solar module manufacturing operations in Georgia, though so far no location in South Georgia is listed. Qcells will build a new facility in Cartersville and add a third facility to its Dalton location, creating more than 2,500 new jobs in northwest Georgia. These investments are expected to bring Qcells’ total solar panel production capacity in Georgia to 8.4 gigawatts by 2024.
“I am honored to announce the growth of Qcells in Georgia for a second time in less than a year,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “With a focus on innovation and technology, Georgia continues to set itself apart as the No. 1 state for business. Combined with our robust logistics infrastructure, top-ranked workforce training program, and collaborative approach, Georgia provides a business-friendly environment that means jobs for hardworking Georgians in every corner of the state and success for both existing and new companies. We’re excited for Qcells’ continued success in the Peach State.”
In 2019, Qcells opened the largest solar panel manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere in Dalton, Georgia. The 1.7-gigawatt solar panel manufacturing facility has continued to expand since then and now supports more than 700 jobs in Whitfield County. Qcells is expected to increase the number of employees in Georgia to more than 4,000 by the end of 2024.
“With this investment, we’re proud to strengthen our U.S. manufacturing capabilities and create good-paying jobs,” said Qcells CEO Justin Lee. “We are seeking to further expand our low-carbon solar investments as we lead the industry towards fully American-made clean energy solutions. Today’s news is further evidence of our growing partnership with Georgia, the workforce there, and an even brighter future together.”
Qcells will construct a new manufacturing facility located at Highland 75 Corporate / Industrial Park, a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) certified site in Bartow County. The new, state-of-the-art facility will manufacture 3.3 gigawatts of solar ingots, wafers, cells, and finished panels. The new facility will create approximately 2,000 new jobs for the region. Qcells expects to break ground at the Cartersville site in the first quarter of 2023.
“Our community is happy to welcome Qcells, and we appreciate their investment and bringing quality jobs to Cartersville,” said Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini. “The evolution of the solar energy industry continues to grow along with the worldwide desire for greener energy sources. It is an honor to have a leader in this field like Qcells to be manufacturing solar panels in Cartersville.”
Due to the company’s rapid growth, Qcells will also add a new facility adjacent to the company’s existing plant at 300 Nexus Drive in Dalton. With its third Whitfield County facility, the company will create 510 new jobs and add another 2 gigawatts of production capability.
“We are excited to work with QCells on their second plant expansion in our Carbondale Industrial Park,” said Jevin Jensen. “By optimizing their recent land purchase, this additional investment will add 500 well-paying jobs and continue to diversify Whitfield County’s economy.”
“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,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “This is another great example of partnerships between innovative companies and supportive communities providing the jobs of tomorrow for Georgians. We look forward to many more years of collaboration and future-defining work with Qcells here in Georgia.”
Director of Korean Investment Yoonie Kim represented the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s (GDEcD) Global Commerce team on these competitive projects in partnership with the Dalton-Whitfield Joint Development Authority, Bartow-Cartersville Joint Development Authority and Bartow-Cartersville Second Joint Development Authority, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Electric Membership Corporation (Georgia EMC), and Georgia Quick Start.
The solar industry has experienced an average annual growth rate of 33 percent for the last decade, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Supply chain challenges disrupted that growth in 2022, with a 23 percent decline in installations compared to 2021. Qcells plans to reduce future supply chain barriers in the solar industry by building a comprehensive value chain in the United States. Today’s announcement positions Qcells as the only company in the U.S. to establish such a fully-integrated, silicon-based solar supply chain from raw material to finished panel.
In Georgia, net electricity generation from renewable sources has increased by more than 93 percent since 2009, and the state’s electricity mix currently consists of 13.6 percent renewable energy. Over 4 percent of the state’s electricity now comes from solar power. Georgia’s energy solutions providers are helping to accelerate the development of renewable energy products by lowering risks, reducing costs, providing access to innovative industry research, and investing in a superior infrastructure network.
Qcells is one of the world’s leading clean energy companies, recognized for its established reputation as a manufacturer of high-performance, high-quality solar cells and modules, portfolio of intelligent storage systems, and growing international pipeline of large-scale renewable energy projects. Qcells also provides renewable electricity retail services and packages to end customers the world over. For more information, visit: www.qcells.com/us.