A major solar panel manufacturer is planning to build a 5.7 million- square-foot plant in the United States, and a location on the border of Tarrant and Parker counties is under consideration. 

Hanwha Solutions is planning to construct a new, large-scale solar panel plant. Two sites in North Texas are under consideration. One is the site on the border of Tarrant and Parker counties and the other in south Dallas County. The parcel in Tarrant and Parker counties is part of the Walsh Ranch development, which was also under consideration for the Rivian manufacturing plant, which eventually decided on a site in Georgia. 

Plans call for the company’s Q Cells solar power business subsidiary to construct the manufacturing plant. The plant would produce solar panels, ingots, wafers and cells, according to the application filed with the Texas Comptroller’s office. The application says the company would create at least 229 jobs with an annual wage of more than $78,522 and the plant would “result in the creation of an impactful number of high-quality, high-paying new jobs.” 

The company will not make a decision on the location of the new plant until the end of the year, according to an email from Yongwoo Cho, strategic planning specialist at Hanwha Solutions.  When the company decides on the location, it expects to break ground in the second quarter of 2023 and complete construction by the first quarter of 2024. 

Both the Fort Worth and Aledo school boards recently were presented with Chapter 313 agreements, which would create jobs in exchange for a 10-year limit on the taxable property value for school districts. The boards approved the applications. According to the applications filed with the Texas Comptroller’s office, Hanwha Solutions also plans to seek additional economic incentive assistance, including tax abatements agreements and infrastructure improvements in the area where it will build the plant. 

The other site in Texas under consideration is in south Dallas County, where the Lancaster Independent School District Board of Directors also recently approved a Chapter 313 tax abatement agreement. Other states under consideration include South Carolina and Georgia. 

Q Cells currently has a solar module plant with an annual production capacity of 1.7 gigawatts in Dalton, Georgia, where it plans to eventually employ more than 1,000. In May, the company announced a $171 million investment to expand the plant to 3.1 gigawatts. 

According to Wood Mackenzie, Q Cells has the largest solar panel market share in the U.S. commercial – 24.1% – and residential – 20.6% – markets in 2021. 

Q Cells is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, and has its technology and innovation center in Thalheim, Germany. It has manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Malaysia, China, and South Korea.

Congress recently approved and President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which included incentives to boost solar manufacturing, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. 

The bill also includes the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act, which supports domestic solar production, according to a statement from  Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA. 

In a news release, Hopper said the act supports the industry through  new tax credits and could create thousands of new manufacturing jobs by the end of the decade.

 Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at bob.francis@fortworthreport.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Robert Francis is a Fort Worth native and journalist who has extensive experience covering business and technology locally, nationally and internationally. He is also a former president of the local Society...