Hanwha SolarOne to build 230 MW South Korean module fab

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With AD duties in the U.S. and a minimum module price in the EU, there are significant incentives for Chinese PV module producers to take manufacturing out of China. The most recent manifestation of this trend was announced today, with Hanwha SolarOne revealing plans to build a module facility in Eumseong, Chungbuk, in South Korea.

In a statement announcing the move, Hanwha SolarOne reported that the new fab will supply the Korean market and provide: “new options to supply tariff-free modules to the U.S.”

Hanwha SolarOne’s manufacturing is at present located in China, the former Solarfun Power Holdings operations. IHS estimates it will have around 2 GW of cell through module capacity at the end of 2014. With the additional facility, Hanwha SolarOne’s capacity will total 2.23 GW. Given that the new facility will represent an expansion in module manufacturing capacity, the company will presumably be placing new equipment orders to kit out the fab.

“This new facility will also further diversify our manufacturing footprint, allowing us to offer tariff-free modules to the U.S,” said Seong-woo Nam, Hanwha SolarOne’s CEO. “The Hanwha Group has successfully managed trade disputes in dozens of industries over the last 60 years, something no other tier-one solar manufacturer can claim.”

As the Korean facility will be a module assembly operation, wafers and cells will likely come from its Chinese production or be sourced externally.

Before joining Hanwha SolarOne in April of this year, CEO Seong-woo Nam had spent 30 years with Samsung Electronics – meaning he likely has considerable experience in manufacturing in Korea. The Hanwha Group is a Korean company and has moved strongly into PV in recent years through the acquisitions of China’s Solarfun and Germany’s Q CELLS.

Hanwha SolarOne will employ 200 people at the new fab, including R&D personnel.