Last week LG Electronics announced plans for a new solar module assembly plant in Huntsville, Ala. The new factory will create about 160 new full-time jobs, increasing LG’s Huntsville employment by 60 percent to more than 400 workers.
LG is investing $28 million to establish the new factory with two production lines on LG’s 48-acre campus in Huntsville, where the company has had operations for four decades. This underscores the company’s commitment to investing in America and to driving environmental sustainability.
Starting in early 2019, the new plant is expected to produce 500 megawatts of high-performance solar panels annually. “That’s over a million solar panels a year,” said Soon Kwon, global president of the LG B2B Company.
LG is one of the top providers of solar panels for the residential market in the United States, and the new solar plant will help LG better serve its U.S. customers, explained Kwon. “This demonstrates our commitment to being a long-term leader in the U.S. solar industry. LG’s investment in U.S. manufacturing is consistent with the Administration’s goal of creating U.S. jobs,” he said.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey welcomed with open arms LG’s significant expansion in the state. “LG has a long history as a leading corporate citizen in Alabama. Now, LG is launching our state’s first solar manufacturing plant, which represents a major milestone both for Alabama and for the company. We look forward to seeing where this great partnership takes us in the future,” she said.
LG selected Alabama after conducting a competitive, multistate search. Attractive state and local incentives were key to LG’s decision to locate the new solar production operations in Huntsville. “We’re thrilled that LG selected Huntsville for its new solar panel assembly plant, because the company considered many other locations for this project,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “LG is a world-class company, and its decision represents a powerful endorsement of Alabama’s advantages and its workforce.”
Calling LG “a strong community partner in Huntsville for many decades,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said, “Our relationship has deepened through visits to the company’s headquarters in Korea and successful advancements in technological innovation. LG chose Huntsville as the place to do business in the U.S. more than 30 years ago, and they’ve chosen Huntsville again as a place to prosper with the new solar module plant.”
“With the expansion of LG Electronics in the Huntsville-Madison County, Alabama region, LG will utilize the latest technology in a high-growth market to produce these solar panels,” said Dale Strong, Chairman of the Madison County Commission. “The diversity and worldwide recognition of the Madison County economy demonstrates we continue to thrive with our finest hours still ahead.”
The new factory will initially assemble LG’s famous “NeON 2” series 60-cell modules, which are high-performance solar panels that generate over 17 percent more power than most conventional 60-cell panels (340 Watts-per-panel rating versus 290W). Light-induced degradation is reduced significantly in these panels to maximize performance and maintain maximum potential power output for the life of the modules.
The company’s new solar module plant builds on LG’s legacy of leadership in Huntsville. After starting as the company’s first U.S. manufacturing subsidiary in 1981, Huntsville became the home of LG’s service division in 1987, which expanded over the years to support LG’s growing presence in the United States. Today, as the headquarters location for North American service operations, LG Huntsville includes the technical call center, service training center, field service operations and parts warehouse.
The U.S. solar factory announcement coincides with other major LG jobs initiatives in the United States. LG is finishing construction of its new million-square-foot washing machine plant in Clarksville, Tenn. This $250-million factory will create 600 new jobs there when washer production starts in the fourth quarter. Later this year, LG will open an advanced electric vehicle components factory in Hazel Park, Mich., and expanded R&D center in Troy, Mich., creating nearly 300 new jobs there. And construction is under way for the new LG North American Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., a $300-million project that is expected to open in 2019.
LG’s NeON 2 series solar modules are used for residential roofs, commercial, and utility projects worldwide. Here are some interesting projects to give you an idea of what’s possible.