DALTON, Georgia — A long line of employees poured into the Qcells facility just before 9 a.m. Thursday morning. The Vice President of the United States was due to arrive later in the afternoon, and the addition of Secret Service and local law enforcement on campus made coming to work that morning a little more exciting than it usually is.
Qcells, a major manufacturer of photovoltaic cells, is located just off the Carbondale Road exit of I-75 North and employs hundreds of Daltons over 34,000 residents. A sign on the wall just inside the main entrance reads, “One team. A mission. #crushingit”
Qcells announced in January 2023 that it was investing $2.5 billion to expand its solar manufacturing capacity in Georgia. Today, here in Dalton on the Biden/Harris administration’s Investing in America tour, Vice President Kamala Harris announced a historic commitment between Qcells and Summit Ridge Energy to provide 1.2 gigawatts (GW) of community solar power that will power the Manufacturing will require 2.5 million solar panels – the largest municipal solar order in American history.
As Harris took the stage, he specifically mentioned the 12 million jobs the Biden/Harris administration was able to create. In a town like Dalton, which experienced a severe unemployment crisis following the closure of some carpet factories, jobs are vital to the town’s growth.
“You have shown incredible resilience in the face of incredible challenges,” she said. “They have partnered with Qcells to build a solar panel factory here in Georgia. The panels produced here are among the best in the world.”
In January, Sen. Jon Ossoff (Ga.-D) and Qcells announced a $2.5 billion investment to massively expand solar production. What was once known as the carpet capital of the world may soon be Georgia’s solar manufacturing capital.
Ossoff has championed solar manufacturing, and his Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act, if enacted, could lure even bigger investment from Qcells’ Korean parent Hanwha.
“By working closely with Qcells, my solar manufacturing law continues to expand opportunities in Georgia and across the country. This new partnership will help deploy Georgia-made solar technology across the country,” U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff said in a statement. “Thank you to the team at Qcells, President Biden, Vice President Harris and everyone involved in today’s announcement for their partnership and support for Georgia.”
“Nobody has been a bigger advocate for Qcells than Senator Ossoff,” said Justin Lee, CEO of Qcells, in January 2023. “We worked closely with Senator Ossoff to enact his solar manufacturing legislation, which helped bring the to enable today’s historic investment. We look forward to continuing our close partnership with Senator Ossoff to create fully American-made and sustainable solar solutions, beginning here in Georgia.”
Qcells Vice Chairman DK Kim said the $2.5 billion investment will enable thousands of additional jobs. Another, larger Qcells facility will also be built in neighboring Cartersville.
During her speech, Harris announced that Summit Ridge Energy, an Arlington, Virginia-based solar equipment owner/operator, has ordered 2.5 million solar panels from Qcells.
“When we invest in climate, clean energy and US-based manufacturing, we invest in America and its people,” Harris said near the end of her speech.