The state of Georgia is on the middle of what could possibly be the biggest funding in clear vitality manufacturing in US historical past, and Georgia Tech is poised to play a key position in an funding set to make hundreds of hundreds of jobs and enhance solar energy infrastructure in our state and past.
Qcells, a solar energy firm, plans to construct a $2.3 billion manufacturing complicated simply north of Atlanta in Cartersville to not solely produce state-of-the-art parts for photo voltaic panels, but additionally to fabricate full panels utilized in a wide range of settings, from houses to giant industrial and industrial photo voltaic arrays.
Georgia Tech is dwelling to among the main researchers and consultants in photovoltaic supplies and photo voltaic vitality. Juan-Pablo Correa-Baena, assistant professor and Goizueta Junior College Rotating Chair within the Faculty of Supplies Science and Engineering, and his analysis workforce are blazing trails within the seek for new supplies that can be utilized in regeneration of photo voltaic vitality.
“A very powerful a part of this funding in US manufacturing is the truth that Qcells is investing within the growth of ingot and wafer manufacturing,” mentioned Correa-Baena. At the moment, silicon should be processed to kind photo voltaic cells used to reap vitality. Ingots are step one within the manufacturing technique of refining uncooked supplies into wafers. Wafers kind the idea of completed photo voltaic panels.
Over the last decade, many of the ingot and wafer manufacturing befell outdoors the US “With this funding, we assure that we are able to absolutely management the availability chain by producing all facets of the photo voltaic panels inside the nation,” mentioned Correa-Baena. Finally, the purpose is to make photo voltaic vitality extra inexpensive for American shoppers and create high-paying jobs for Georgians.
“It is thrilling to see that silicon manufacturing is beginning up once more within the US and that Georgia is main the way in which,” mentioned Ajeet Rohatgi, Regent and John H. Weitnauer Jr. Professor. Chair of the Faculty of Electrical and Laptop Engineering.
Rohatgi is likely one of the world’s main researchers in photovoltaics – the conversion of sunshine into electrical energy utilizing semiconducting supplies resembling silicon. He’s the founding director of the primary college primarily based and funded Division of Power Middle of Excellence for Photovoltaics Analysis and Schooling. The middle’s work focuses on discovering and bettering the supplies used to make photo voltaic cells whereas additionally bettering their effectivity.
Qcells constructed its first plant close to Dalton, Georgia, in 2019. By 2022, the ability would be the largest producer of photo voltaic panels within the western hemisphere. Rohatgi mentioned representatives from Qcells visited its analysis amenities on campus, and he and his workforce additionally visited the corporate’s Dalton facility.
“As the necessity for clear vitality continues to develop within the nation, we’re able to put hundreds of individuals to work creating absolutely American-made and sustainable photo voltaic options, from uncooked materials to in completed panels,” mentioned Justin Lee, CEO of Qcells. “We’re dedicated to working with our clients in addition to nationwide and Georgia leaders to carry absolutely clear vitality to tens of millions of individuals throughout the nation.”
Tim Lieuwen, government director of Strategic Power Institute, The Regents Professor, and David S. Lewis Jr. Chair mentioned, “Georgia Tech is a key chief in most of the core applied sciences associated to wash vitality industries, has probably the most distinguished researchers and amenities within the nation, and educates many undergraduate and graduate college students. college students in these areas.”
So Tech has the potential to be a beneficial accomplice on this mission. “We’re in a singular area the place we are able to interface with Qcells to assist them enhance supplies processing and discover new supplies, but additionally assist their manufacturing processes by introducing of synthetic intelligence to optimize processes and enhance their productiveness,” mentioned Correa-Baena.
The announcement will not be solely important for Georgia Tech, but additionally for the state of Georgia. In Lieuwen’s view, Georgia is rising as a middle for clear vitality manufacturing and know-how, in no small half because of the Institute’s partnerships, analysis, and workforce growth efforts. He says that advances in electrical automobiles, batteries, and hydrogen energy are all choosing up steam in our state. “Having a lot of these firms in areas the place Georgia Tech focuses its analysis and growth efforts is sweet for the Institute and the state.”
The enlargement of Qcells is probably going simply the tip of the iceberg, as main researchers from throughout campus acknowledge tasks like this one the place know-how and innovation could make a distinction.
“I’m keen about this enlargement of photo voltaic cell manufacturing in Georgia as a result of it builds on different clear vitality, electrification, and vitality storage industries that exist already or are deliberate for our state,” mentioned Julia Kubanek. , professor and vice chairman of Interdisciplinary Analysis. “The Southeast is more and more turning into generally known as a hub for cleantech innovation, and Georgia Tech is proud to be a key contributor to this ecosystem.”
Manufacturing of the brand new Qcells photo voltaic plant is predicted to start in 2024.