LG Electronics has announced plans for a new solar module assembly plant in Huntsville, Ala. The factory will create about 160 new full-time jobs, increasing Huntsville employment by LG by 60 percent to more than 400 workers.
LG is investing $28 million to establish the factory with two production lines on its 48-acre campus in Huntsville, where the company has had operations for four decades. This underscores its commitment to investing in America and to driving environmental sustainability.
Starting in early 2019, the plant is expected to produce 500 megawatts of solar panels annually. “That’s over a million solar panels a year,” says Soon Kwon, global president of the LG B2B (Business-to-Business) Co.
LG is one of the providers of solar panels in the U.S., and the solar plant will help LG better serve its U.S. customers, explained Kwon. “This demonstrates our commitment to being a leader in the U.S. solar industry. Its investment in U.S. manufacturing is consistent with the U.S. Administration’s goal of creating U.S. jobs,” he says.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey welcomed the LG expansion in the state. “LG has a history as a corporate citizen in Alabama. Now, LG is launching a solar manufacturing plant, which represents a milestone both for Alabama and for the company. We look forward to seeing where this partnership takes us in the future,” she says.
LG selected Alabama after conducting a multistate search. Attractive state and local incentives were key to its decision to locate the solar production operations in Huntsville. “We’re thrilled that LG selected Huntsville for its solar panel assembly plant, because the company considered many other locations for this project,” says Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “This decision represents an endorsement of the advantages and workforce in Alabama.”
Calling LG a community partner in Huntsville for many decades, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle says, “Our relationship has deepened through visits to LG headquarters in Korea and 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 technology in this market to produce these solar panels,” says Dale Strong, chairman of the Madison County Commission. “The diversity and recognition of the Madison County economy demonstrates we continue to thrive.”
The factory will initially assemble LG’s NeON 2 series 60-cell modules, which are solar panels that generate over 17 percent more power than conventional 60-cell panels (340 Watts-per-panel rating versus 290W). Light-induced degradation is reduced in these panels to maximize performance and maintain potential power output for the life of the modules.
The solar module plant builds on the LG legacy of leadership in Huntsville. After starting as its 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 U.S. 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 LG jobs initiatives in the U.S. LG is finishing construction of its million-square-foot washing machine plant in Clarksville, Tenn. This $250-million factory will create new 600 jobs there when washer production starts in the fourth quarter. Later this year, LG will open an 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 LG North American Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., a $300-million project that is expected to open in 2019.
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