ATLANTA – Today, Gov. Brian Kemp announced that Qcells, one of the largest and most-recognized renewable energy solutions providers, will invest $171 million in a new solar module manufacturing facility in Dalton, creating 470 new jobs in Whitfield County.
The new facility is expected to increase the number of Qcells employees in Georgia to more than 1,000.
“We are proud that Qcells, like so many other job creators, has chosen to expand its operations here in the No. 1 state for business,” said Kemp. “For decades, Georgia and Korea have enjoyed a strong, prosperous relationship. I purposefully chose to visit this great partner on my first economic development trip as governor, and I am thankful that Qcells’ facility will ensure Whitfield County remains a hub for manufacturing as we continue to prioritize bringing jobs and opportunity to all parts of our state, including our rural communities.”
Qcells is a leader in the world’s solar industry, and its parent company, Hanwha Group, is among the largest business enterprises in South Korea. Being one of the biggest solar module manufacturers in the world, Qcells boasted an estimated total annual production capacity of 12.4 gigawatts as of 2021. Qcells currently operates a 1.7-gigawatt solar panel manufacturing facility in Dalton, with more than 750 employees. The facility, which opened in 2019, produces 12,000 panels a day.
“We are thrilled to announce additional manufacturing investment in Georgia. Expanding our production capacity in Dalton underscores Qcells’ strong commitment to the Dalton-Whitfield County region, Georgia, and the U.S. solar market,” said Justin Lee, CEO of Qcells. “We are incredibly grateful to Governor Kemp, the State of Georgia, and the numerous economic officials supporting this expansion which will provide hundreds of good-paying jobs in Northwest Georgia.”
The new Qcells facility will be located at 310 Nexus Drive in Dalton, and groundbreaking is expected to begin in fall 2022. The new factory is expected to open as early as the first half of 2023.
With its planned 1.4-gigawatts of manufacturing capacity, Qcells’ total production capacity in the U.S. will exceed 3 gigawatts – equivalent to one-third of U.S. solar module production capacity. The company will be hiring for positions in engineering, finance, production, and related functions. Interested individuals can learn more about working at Qcells by searching Qcells, Dalton on www.indeed.com.
“Energy production from solar increased in the U.S. by 20 percent in 2021. Qcells and Whitfield County citizens contributed to this growth by opening the largest solar factory in North America in 2019,” said Jevin Jensen, chairman of the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners. “We are excited to partner again with Qcells on this major expansion, which will boost our contribution to the growing renewable energy sector and continue to diversify our solid manufacturing base in Whitfield County.”
Director of Korean Investment Yoonie Kim represented the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s (GDEcD) Global Commerce team on this competitive project in partnership with the Dalton-Whitfield Joint Development Authority, Georgia Electric Membership Corporation (Georgia EMC), and Georgia Quick Start.
“There is no doubt that we are witnessing the rebirth of the solar panel manufacturing industry in the United States, and Qcells is a pioneer in that movement,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “In 2019, the company opened their state-of-the-art facility in Dalton, which ultimately became the largest solar panel manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere. Today we celebrate not only the successes of the past, but the future that Qcells brings by expanding their footprint in Georgia. Many thanks to Qcells for continuing to invest in Georgia, solidifying our position as a leader in renewable energy job growth. Congratulations and thank you to our partners in Dalton and Whitfield County for creating a business friendly environment that provides companies the support they need to succeed.”
Since 2009, Georgia has increased net electricity generation from renewable sources by more than 93 percent, and today the state’s electricity mix consists of nearly 12 percent renewable energy. As a Top Ten state for solar, solar PV is the state’s fastest-growing source of renewable energy. Over 3 percent of the state’s electricity now comes from solar power, with enough installed capacity to power 373,248 homes. 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.
The Republic of Korea has maintained a consular presence in Georgia since 1971. Yoonjoo Park has served as Consul General since June 2021. The State of Georgia has maintained continuous representation in Korea since 1985 with an office in Seoul.