May 12 (Renewables Now) – South Korea’s Hanwha Solutions Corp (KRX:009830), which owns solar panel maker Qcells, on Wednesday said it will invest USD 320 million (EUR 303m) to expand its capacity in the US and South Korea in response to growing global demand for solar energy.
The company plans to invest USD 170 million in the construction of a 1.4-GW solar module manufacturing facility in the US. Expected to be up and running as early as the first half of 2023, the new plant will expand Qcells’ existing 1.7-GW module factory in Dalton, Georgia, bringing its production capacity in the US to more than 3 GW.
Hanwha will also invest USD 150 million to expand its cell factory in South Korea to 5.4 GW from the current 4.5 GW, with the expansion due to be completed next year.
The investments will see Qcells’ total cell capacity reach 10.9 GW and its module capacity 13.8 GW. Besides the US and South Korea, the business also has facilities in China and Malaysia. Hanwha said it will invest further in the US, including in wafers and cells, if there is a long-term policy to incentivise solar manufacturing.
The investment plans come as turbulent energy markets and surging fossil fuel prices are increasing demand for renewable energy. “Growing uncertainties tell us that securing reliable, sustainable energy has become more important than ever before,” said Hanwha Qcells chief executive Justin Lee.
Hanwha is aiming to source low-carbon polysilicon for its solar products. Recently it has agreed with Korean polysilicon manufacturer OCI an offtake of polysilicon produced in factories using hydroelectricity. In March, it became the largest shareholder of Norway-based REC Silicon, which uses hydropower to produce solar-grade polysilicon in Moses Lake, Washington in the US.
Hanwha further said that in partnership with Samsung Electronics it is preparing to launch in June a smart heating system designed to lower heating bills for households in Europe. The product combines Qcells’ solar panels and energy storage system with Samsung’s Eco Heating System.
(USD 1 = EUR 0.948)
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