Solar installations are growing in Georgia.

A solar manufacturer based in New Jersey but with existing production in Asia is planning a $36 million Georgia factory that will employ 500 people.  

The existing facility in Sumter County where workers are set to be trained in partnership with Georgia Quick Start.

Founded in 2005, NanoPV is selected an existing 56,000-square-foot factory in Americus for the plant, which is to help the company fulfill what it says is a solid book of orders as more solar farms are deployed around the U.S.  

Scaling up solar manufacturing in the U.S. has been a tall order over the past decade, as subsidized competition from China and other countries have undercut American panels on pricing. Georgia-born and Norcross-based Suniva, an early darling of the U.S. government that won export deals globally, was forced into bankruptcy and was purchased by a Chinese company, even as it petitioned for tariff relief from Chinese competitors.  

But with anti-dumping tariffs as well as other trade remediation measures imposed by the U.S., plus new technologies and a focus on massive scale complemented by local incentives, some domestic factories have thrived.  

Hanwha Q CELLS, a Korean-owned plant in Dalton, is one of the largest solar panel manufacturers in the United States, having promised 500 jobs on an initial $150 million in investment. 

NanoPV’s founder, president and CEO is Anna Selvan John, an Indian-origin researcher who has patented multiple light-trapping processes for nanocrystalline solar-cell production. The company says it has installations in Thailand, Taiwan, China, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Morocco, Egypt, Cambodia, Indonesia and India.  

Increasingly, made-in-Georgia solar panels are being installed in-state, sometimes to meet carbon-neutrality pledges by inbound investors like Facebook or Amazon. Many of the solar farms in the state are foreign-owned or employ technology developed abroad.  

Renewable energy capacity has nearly doubled in the past decade, while 12 percent of the state’s energy mix comes from renewables including solar. Specifically to solar, the state says it added 700 megawatts of capacity in 2021, with 1.3 gigawatts in the pipeline.  

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...