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Solar Factory Plans Add to Georgia Clean Manufacturing Boom

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Photo Courtesy SolarCycle

(Bloomberg) —

Plans for a new solar glass manufacturing facility in western Georgia are set to strengthen the state’s growing stature as a hub for US clean energy manufacturing.

Solarcycle Inc.’s $344 million facility in Cedartown, Georgia, will use recycled materials from decommissioned solar panels to make new solar glass, with the product sold back to domestic panel makers, the company announced Thursday. The location, just west of Atlanta, is near two Qcells photovoltaic manufacturing sites.

Solarcycle, which opened its first facility in Texas in 2022, said construction is set to begin this year at the Georgia plant and the site would be operational in 2026. The facility, Solarcycle’s first to manufacture solar glass in addition to recycling panels, will have the capacity to produce 5 gigawatts to 6 gigawatts of glass annually, sustaining some 600 new full-time jobs. A nearby Qcells solar panel facility has a 5.1 gigawatt output.

Read More: Georgia Shows How a Once Deeply Red State Went Big on Green Jobs

“There is no question that solar panel manufacturing is booming in the state of Georgia,” Suvi Sharma, Solarcycle’s chief executive officer, said in a news release. “The Cedartown plant will bring hundreds of good-paying jobs to Georgia and help the industry in its goals to build fully American-made clean energy solutions.”

Solarcycle’s announcement further cements Georgia’s role “as a national leader in domestic solar manufacturing,” said Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat from the state.

The plans dovetail with an industry and Biden administration push to nurture a US solar supply chain. Tax incentives and other initiatives under the Inflation Reduction Act have helped propel a wave of interest in new, domestic clean-energy manufacturing, with much of it concentrated in Georgia and other southern states.

The effort also coincides with burgeoning interest in recycling solar equipment, as panels installed two decades ago reach the end of their useful lives. Solarcycle, which has inked recycling agreements with more than 40 solar energy companies, says it can extract 95% of the value from used panels by recovering materials such as aluminum, silver, silicon and low-iron glass.

(Updates with comment from senator in fifth paragraph. An earlier version corrected planned production capacity in third paragraph.)

© 2024 Bloomberg L.P.


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