DALTON, Georgia (WDEF) – Governor Nathan Deal announced that a Korean solar company is moving to Dalton and will create more than 500 New jobs.
Hanwha Q CELLS Korea will produce high-performance and high-quality solar modules at the new facility that is scheduled to open in 2019.
“This is a huge win for Whitfield County, to have a solar panel company come in to our industrial park,” said Lynn Laughter, Whitfield County commissioner.
The carpet and flooring industry has dominated the greater Dalton area, but now officials hope the addition of Hanwha will help Whitfield County grow.
“The floor covering industry was born here, it grew up here. We love having them here. They are the reason Dalton is what it is today. But during the last recession, we recognized the need to diversify our manufacturing base, so Hanwha will allow us to do that. It’s a really big win for our community,” Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Bradham said.
During the recession, Whitfield County had the second highest unemployment rate in the nation — topping out at 14 percent.
Now, they rate just above the national average. And Bradham thinks this new addition is another step in the right direction.
“We’ve had a lot of positive momentum over the last couple of years,” Bradham said. “So, there is a sense that we are fully recovered from the economic recession. So, Hanwha deciding to locate in Dalton, adds fuel to the fire, generates even more excitement for the community.”
Hanwha is headquartered in South Korea and currently operates manufacturing facilities in Malaysia and China.
The plant would be the most powerful solar producer in the western hemisphere, with a greater capacity than either the First Solar plant in the works in Ohio or Tesla’s gigafactory in New York.
The PERC modules will be for consumers to mount on rooftops or the ground to store solar energy.
Whitfield County lured the South Korean company with $30,000,000 in land and tax incentives.
The County may be the biggest beneficiary of President Trump’s solar tariffs announced a few months ago.
The U.S. is now imposing tariffs on imported solar cells and modules.
Our country is the second largest solar consumer in the world.
But the Korean company says the Georgia plant is part of a larger, world strategy in a press release.
“The new manufacturing fab is testament to Hanwha Q Cells Korea’s commitment to the U.S. market, in spite of the recently imposed trade barriers.”