Georgia’s plan to generate more electricity from renewable energy resources is taking another leap forward with an announcement that Qcells intends to build a third solar panel manufacturing plant in the state.
The company will be starting construction on a $2.5-billion solar module manufacturing plant in an industrial park in Cartersville in April.
The company presently has a plant in Dalton in Whitfield County and is already adding a second facility to the plant.
The new investments are expected to create more than 2,500 jobs and bring Qcells’ total solar panel production capacity in Georgia to 8.4 gigawatts (GW) by 2024.
Qcells is a manufacturer of solar cells and modules and has a portfolio of intelligent storage systems. The company is growing rapidly and has an international pipeline of large-scale renewable energy projects underway.
Qcells is the only company in the U.S. to establish such a fully integrated, silicon-based solar supply chain from raw material to finished panel.
The new manufacturing facility will be located at Highland 75 Corporate/Industrial Park in Bartow County, a 45-minute drive northwest of Atlanta. The park is a 783-acre site a mile east of Exit 296 on Interstate 75. It is a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development site with fast-track permitting available.
The new facility will manufacture 3.3 GW of solar ingots, wafers, cells and finished panels. The plant will create approximately 2,000 new jobs for the region.
The solar industry has experienced an average annual growth rate of 33 per cent for the last decade, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Supply chain challenges disrupted that growth in 2022, with a 23 per cent 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 U.S.
In Georgia, electricity generation from renewable sources has increased by more than 93 per cent since 2009. The state’s electricity mix currently consists of 13.6 per cent renewable energy. Over four per cent of the state’s electricity now comes from solar power.
In 2019, Qcells opened the largest solar panel manufacturing facility in the western hemisphere at 300 Nexus Dr. in Dalton. The 1.7-GW plant now supports more than 700 jobs in Whitfield County.
Due to the company’s rapid growth, Qcells is adding a new facility adjacent to the Dalton plant that will create 510 new jobs and add another two gigawatts of production capability. Construction on the plant started last year. Lexington, Ky.-based Gray Construction built the initial plant and is working on the expansion.
Once the Cartersville plant is running the company’s number of employees in Georgia will be more than 4,000 by the end of 2024.
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