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Hanwha Solutions to invest W3.2tr in US solar energy business

S. Korean energy company to have 8.4-gigawatt production by 2024, enough for 1.3 million households

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : Jan. 11, 2023 - 17:38

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The Hanwha Q Cells facility in the US state of Georgia (Hanwha Solutions) The Hanwha Q Cells facility in the US state of Georgia (Hanwha Solutions)

Hanwha Solutions will invest 3.2 trillion won ($2.57 billion) in expanding its solar energy businesses and building additional facilities to complete the manufacturing line in the United States through next year, the South Korean company said Wednesday.

The company said it plans to set up a solar hub that will be capable of producing four of the five core parts -- ingot, wafer, cell and module -- in the solar energy industry. The hub will feature two different sites in the state of Georgia. Hanwha Solutions will build a manufacturing campus in Cartersville and expand the production capacity of its existing facility in Dalton.

According to Hanwha, the 3.2 trillion won investment will be the single largest in the history of solar energy in the US.

Hanwha plans to increase the Dalton site’s 1.7-gigawatt production to 5.1 GW by the end of this year. The Dalton facility has been manufacturing solar modules since 2019. The company said the construction of the new site in Cartersville, which will have a total capacity of 3.3 GW, is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

Once Hanwha Solutions have a total capacity of 8.4 GW, it will be enough to power about 1.3 million American households for a year. Such green energy production will be equal to reducing approximately 9.78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.

As for polysilicon, the last pillar of the solar module assembly chain, Hanwha said it is reviewing options to use the polysilicon produced by REC Silicon. Hanwha became the largest shareholder of REC Silicon after it invested a total of $204 million in the Norway-based US polysilicon manufacturer last year.

The company said its anticipated 8.4 GW capacity will be the largest energy production capacity among the companies that make solar modules using silicon cells in the US.

“Setting up the solar hub is to make the best of the US Government’s energy transition policy to maximize our competitiveness,” said Lee Koo-yung, CEO of Hanwha Q Cells, in a press conference, referring to the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act aimed at battling climate change and providing financial support for the renewable energy industry. Hanwha Q Cells is a US solar energy subsidiary of Hanwha Solutions.

“The solar hub will be a core production site for the US solar panel industry, which is expected to grow by 20 percent each year,” Lee added.

Hanwha explained that the company will be able to receive tax deductions of up to $875 million per year under the IRA if its solar hub is at full capacity.

According to energy market researcher Wood Mackenzie, Hanwha Solutions had the largest share in the US household solar module market for 17 consecutive quarters as of the third quarter of last year.