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Hanwha Q Cells accelerates solar cell R&D to maximize benefits from US IRA

A solar cell production line at Hanwha Solutions Q Cells Division's Jincheon plant in North Chungcheong Province / Courtesy of Hanwha Solutions
A solar cell production line at Hanwha Solutions Q Cells Division’s Jincheon plant in North Chungcheong Province / Courtesy of Hanwha Solutions


Solar panel maker aims to produce more cells using perovskite by 2026

By Park Jae-hyuk

JINCHEON, North Chungcheong Province ― Thousands of pieces of equipment and hundreds of robots are testing the mass production of high-performance TOPCon solar cells on a 300-meter production line, inside the factory of Hanwha Solutions Q Cells Division in Jincheon province.

Although more than 2,000 employees work for the Jincheon plant, most of them do not work next to noisy assembly lines, because the plant has become a “smart” factory, automating the entire process . Most of the workers monitor the transportation of the products and the quality of the finished goods within the control rooms.

Based on advanced technologies, Hanwha Q Cells intends to mass produce TOPCon, which stands for “tunnel oxide passivated contact,” next April. According to the company, the new type of solar cell improves efficiency, as it is designed to minimize power loss.

“Although we have lagged behind our Chinese rivals in the development of TOPCon, we are confident that we will overwhelm them with technology next year,” a Hanwha Q Cells official said at a Wednesday press conference at the factory.

Hanwha Q Cells plans to use TOPCon to expand its presence in the rapidly growing US solar energy market. The company expects the size of exports from the Jincheon plant to rise to at least 2 trillion won ($1.4 billion) next year from 1.7 trillion won this year.

Amid the downturn in the renewable energy market in Korea, Hanwha Q Cells aims to supply high-performance solar modules designed for residential and commercial buildings in the US.

In particular, the company is set to take advantage of the US Inflation Reduction Act, intended to increase reliance on renewable energy sources there.

Once its Dalton plant in the US state of Georgia succeeds in reaching an annual production capacity of 3.1 gigawatts in the second half of next year, Hanwha Q Cells looks forward to its ongoing global expansion to gain momentum.

A prototype of a tandem cell using perovskite and silicon / Courtesy of Hanwha Solutions
A prototype of a tandem cell using perovskite and silicon / Courtesy of Hanwha Solutions


To maximize the benefits from the new US law, the solar panel maker is also trying to produce more perovskite-based tandem cells by June 2026.

“Perovskite is a cheap mineral,” the Hanwha Q Cells official said. “Compared to silicon-based cells, perovskite-based products of the same thickness can absorb more sunlight. So they are more cost-efficient.”

According to Hanwha Q Cells, its researchers in Germany collaborated with Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, a solar cell technology research institute, to develop tandem cells using perovskite and silicon, which is considered an intermediary step in the development of cells using only perovskite.

“By focusing on the research and development of tandem cells, we can become the world’s leading company in the solar energy market,” said the Hanwha Q Cells official.

The company, however, is not only focusing on foreign markets, but is also making efforts to build infrastructure in Korea for the local use of renewable energies.

“The latest survey by the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry shows that 15 percent of Korean companies have been asked by their global clients to use renewable energy. As for large companies, three out of 10 have received such requests,” said a Hanwha Solutions official. “Unless the supply of renewable energy is increased in Korea, domestic companies will face setbacks in keeping up with RE100 (the global initiative of corporations committed to 100-percent renewable energy ), for lack of such strength.”


























































































































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