Qcells partners with Microsoft to advance its clean energy goals

Microsoft aims to get 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2025
Views of Qcells solar manufacturing facility in Dalton, Ga. as seen on Tuesday, January 10, 2023.  (Natrice Miller/natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@

Views of Qcells solar manufacturing facility in Dalton, Ga. as seen on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Natrice Miller/natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Georgia solar panel manufacturer Qcells announced Wednesday that it is joining forces with Microsoft to help the technology and software giant achieve its renewable energy goals.

Microsoft has committed to sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2025 and aims to be carbon negative by 2030. As part of the new partnership, Qcells said it will help Microsoft secure 2.5 gigawatts of solar capacity the company needs to achieve those goals — enough to power roughly 400,000 homes.

Qcells said it will assist with all aspects of Microsoft’s renewable energy procurement, including developing solar projects, supplying panels to third parties the tech giant has contracted with, and more.

In a release, the companies said their alliance marks the first time a company has worked directly with a solar supplier to adopt clean energy on a scale this large.

“Qcells is proud to play a role with Microsoft to bring more renewable energy online in the years to come,” company CEO Justin Lee said in a news release.This first step is only the beginning of a great partnership that not only supports our two companies but helps deliver a clean energy future for customers and communities.”

Both companies added that their alliance is also rooted in a desire to advance clean energy adoption and develop a U.S.-based supply chain for solar energy systems.

“Building a resilient solar energy supply chain is essential to advancing a global green energy economy,” Microsoft vice chair and president Brad Smith said. “Microsoft’s partnership with Qcells will help make this vision a reality by bringing innovation and investment to rural Georgia.”

Qcells — owned by the Korean conglomerate Hanwha Solutions — recently revealed plans to spend $2.5 billion on a massive expansion of its Georgia production footprint. Hanwha, federal and state officials say the Georgia project is the largest-ever investment in clean energy manufacturing in U.S. history.

Qcells hopes to break ground in the first quarter of this year on a new, 3.3-gigawatt plant near Cartersville, an hour northwest of Atlanta, and expand the capacity of its existing factory in Dalton by 2.1 gigawatts. Both facilities are expected to be operational by 2024 and will bring 2,500 jobs to the state.

Microsoft also plans to dramatically grow its presence in Georgia.

The company currently leases office space in two towers at Atlantic Yards, but in 2020, Microsoft paid roughly $150 million for 90 acres near the Westside Park. In the coming years, Microsoft plans to develop the land into a sprawling campus for thousands of employees, one of several new hubs the company is building around the country.

A note of disclosure

This coverage is supported by a partnership with 1Earth Fund, the Kendeda Fund and Journalism Funding Partners. You can learn more and support our climate reporting by donating at ajc.com/donate/climate/