Microsoft announced it has contracted for over 2.5 GW of solar power purchase agreements (PPA) with Qcells. The partnership will tap Qcells for its solar modules, as well as engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services.
The massive power procurement by the tech giant represents the equivalent of powering over 400,000 homes. Qcells will work with Microsoft on developing the solar projects, which will advance Microsoft’s progress toward its goal of covering 100% of its energy needs with renewable energy production by 2025. It will also help support a new US-based energy supply chain.
“Building a resilient solar energy supply chain is essential to advancing a global green energy economy. Microsoft’s partnership with Qcells will help make this vision a reality by bringing innovation and investment to rural Georgia,” said Brad Smith, vice chair and president, Microsoft.
Qcells, owned by Seoul-based Hanwha Solutions, announced that it will invest more than $2.5 billion to build a complete solar supply chain in the United States, from polysilicon sourcing through module production. This will make Qcells the first company to establish a fully integrated silicon-based solar supply chain in the United States.
The company cites Senator Ossoff’s Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act, now part of the Inflation Reduction Act, as playing a key role in promoting additional investments in the US. The IRA offers numerous tax credits for clean energy manufacturing.
Qcells intends to break ground on the new, state-of-the-art facility in Bartow County, Georgia, where it will manufacture 3.3 GW of solar ingots, wafers, cells and finished modules. The company also has a facility in Dalton, Georgia, where it will assemble an additional 2 GW of modules. With plans to boost the Dalton production by another 5.1 GW, Qcells anticipates that its total production in Georgia will be 8.4 GW in 2024.
“Today’s Hanwha Qcells announcement to make the largest solar investment in US history is a big deal for Georgia’s working families and the American economy. And, this investment is a direct result of my economic plan and the Inflation Reduction Act,” said President Joe Biden.
Microsoft ranks as the fifth largest corporate procurer of solar, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, though this high-profile transaction will likely move it up the list. There are now 23 US companies that have installed at least 100 MW of solar capacity, up from 11 companies in 2019. Eighteen of the top 25 companies ranked in this report are pursuing 100% renewable energy or carbon neutral goals.
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