South Korea’s Hanwha Solutions, which is the parent company of PV product manufacturer Hanwha Qcells, announced on May 12 that it will invest USD 320 million to add production capacity in the US and South Korea. The rationale behind the decision is to meet the growing worldwide demand for solar PV. Regarding the expansion project in the US, Hanwha will invest USD 170 million to scale up an existing PV module production site in Dalton, Georgia. In South Korea, Hanwha will invest USD 150 million to enlarge an existing PV cell production site. The expansion projects were announced by Hanwha through a press release and first reported by other renewable energy news outlets.
The module production site in Dalton currently has a production capacity of 1.7GW. Its expansion, which is set to complete in the first half of 2023, will raise the production capacity to more than 3GW. Hanwha also stated that expanded site in Dalton will possess about one-third of Qcells’ total module production capacity in the US. As for the cell production site in South Korea, Hanwha will increase its production capacity from the current 4.5GW to 5.4GW next year.
Justin Lee, CEO of Hanwha Qcells, said access to reliable and sustainable energy sources is increasingly important given the turbulent and uncertain global situation. Lee added that Qcells will increase renewable energy supply through diversification. It will also adopt renewable and clean energy in product manufacturing. The ultimate goal is to achieve energy security and net-zero emissions.
The latest expansion projects will increase Qcells’ cell and module production capacity figures to 10.9GW and 13.8GW respectively, according to the reporting by website Renewables Now. Qcells said further investments in the US, including wafer and cell production, are possible if there are policies that incentivize localization of PV product manufacturing. Qcells currently has facilities in South Korea, the US, China, and Malaysia.
Besides raising production capacity, Hanwha is also busily securing upstream resources such as polysilicon. This April, Hanwha Solutions became the largest shareholder of REC Silicon. Also, near the end of the same month, Qcells placed a USD1.2 billion order with OCI. REC Silicon, in particular, has the advantage of using hydropower to produce “low-carbon” polysilicon.
In its press release, Hanwha also mentioned that it is co-developing a smart heating solution with Samsung Electronics. The solution, which comprises the former’s PV-plus-storage system and the latter’s “Eco Heating System”, is designed to help reduce heating bills, especially for those living in Europe and facing soaring energy costs.