From pv magazine USA
South Korea-based Hanwha Group, the parent corporation of Qcells, is establishing a low-carbon solar supply chain to support its solar energy growth strategy in North America, where it is constructing a manufacturing facility in Georgia to nearly double its total US production capacity to over 3 GW. In keeping with its intent to source low-carbon products domestically, the company has signed an agreement to source solar glass from Canadian Premium Sand (CPS).
“Following a tour of our planned facilities in Manitoba and meetings in Calgary with members of Hanwha’s management team in June of 2022, we are delighted to enter into an MOU with Hanwha regarding long-term supply of our low-carbon, patterned solar glass,” said Glenn Leroux, CPS president. “Hanwha’s North American solar glass demand requirements of over 3 gigawatts of module manufacturing represents over 80% of our planned Phase 1 production capacity.”
CPS will manufacture patterned solar glass in a new facility in Selkirk, Manitoba that uses the high-purity, low-iron silica sand from its wholly owned Wanipigow quarry leases. CPS intends to power the facility with renewable energy, which reduces the carbon footprint of the glass. The company also intends to use recycled water in the manufacturing process along with waste heat recovery. The initial facility (phase 1) will have an annual production of 20 million square meters or the equivalent of 4 GW of solar panel manufacturing demand. The location in Manitoba has room for 4 such facilities in total. CPS expects to be manufacturing at full capacity in the first facility by 2025.
As Qcells expands its manufacturing footprint in North America, the company sees “tremendous value in securing supply from a trusted partner that is proximal to our operations,” a company spokesperson said. “Additionally, the integrated nature of CPS’ operation with its wholly-owned sand resource and the use of renewable hydro-electricity in its manufacturing process offer excellent alignment with our low-carbon objectives.”
In May Qcells announced that its new solar panel manufacturing facility, expected to come online in 2023, will be located in Dalton, Georgia near where the company already operates a 1.7 GW module factory. In March, Hanwha Solutions, parent corporation of Qcells, announced that it was stepping up efforts to supply customers with “Made-in-America” products when it became the largest shareholder of REC Silicon, a major US manufacturer of polysilicon. Following its initial $160 million acquisition to acquire a 16.67% stake in REC Silicon in January 2022, Hanwha announced that it was acquiring an additional 4.67% stake from Aker Horizons in a deal valued at around $44 million.
Hanwha’s US initiative supports the Biden administration’s efforts to increase solar power generation by 40% and to decarbonize all electricity by 2035. Hanwha sees the enactment of the Solar Energy Manufacturing Act (SEMA) as critical to a US-based solar supply chain. While Hanwha had stated that it would “…implement a multi-phase, multi-billion-dollar expansion across the full solar energy supply chain” once SEMA was passed, the expansion has begun.
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