In what is a significant milestone for the consolidation phase of the photovoltaic industry, Hanwha Q.Cells has emerged today as a reinvented player in the industry. Charles Kim, formerly the president of Hanwha SolarOne, was announced as CEO of the new company.
A team of Hanwha Group management have travelled to Germany for the handover, including Ki-Joon Hong, Vice Chairman and CEO of Hanwha Chemical, and Chairman of the Board and CEO of Hanwha SolarOne. A full schedule of events to formerly launch Hanwha Q.Cells will also continue throughout the day.
At a press conference launching Hawha Q.Cells, Kim revealed his role will be to oversee the integration of the new company with Hanwhas established photovoltaic enterprise, Hanwha SolarOne. Kim said that while the two companies will remain separate, collaboration will occur. Both brands will continue to operate in the global photovoltaic market.
Reiner Haseloff, head of the local region Sachsen-Anhalts government welcomed the acquisition of Q.Cells and said that it is a chance for the region to remain a strong photovoltaic base. He further emphasized that Hanwha Q.Cells will remain one of the largest photovoltaic manufacturers in the world.
With the acquisition of Q.Cells and launching of the new company, the Hanwha group is now responsible for 2.3 GW of nameplate manufacturing capacity across Germany, Malaysia and China. This is expected to stand the company in good stead, in light of the recent solar tariffs and ongoing trade disputes.
On the pressing issue as to when Hanwha Q.Cells will turn a profit, new CEO Charles Kim said that it is hoped the company can do so in 2013, or by 2014 at the latest. Specific details as to how that will be realized were not revealed.
Research and development at the former Q.Cells facilities in Thalheim-Bitterfeld, a mixed industrial area of Sachsen-Anhalt, will remain a priority, next to Hanwha SolarOnes R&D center in Silicon Valley, California, said Kim, who was appointed MD of the center in 2010.
Anrdreas von Zitzewitz, a former board member at Q.Cells, will join the Hanwha Q.Cells management team. Of Q.Cells 800 strong workforce in Germany, 80% were retained, with many of the departing workforce accepting voluntary redundancies. Zitzewitz said the company has been working with other companies in the region to provide transition arrangements for these workers.
In a telling move, the Q.Cells brand has been maintained in the new company. "The Q.Cells track record of quality, innovation and excellence align with Hanwha Groups financial resources, manufacturing expertise and global customer network to form one of the strongest solar companies in the world, ready to lead the industry into a new era," said Kim.
Watch out for the December edition of pv magazine, which will include a special feature on Hanwha Q.Cells.
Edited by Becky Beetz.