South Korean electronics giant LG has announced plans to inject a further $US435 million into its solar panel manufacturing operations, increasing local production capacity from 1GW to 3GW within four years.
LG said on Friday it had entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Korean city of in the city of Gumi to invest in the expansion of its solar cell manufacturing facilities , with the addition of six new production lines to the current eight.
This, the company said, would increase capacity from 1GW to 1.8GW by 2018 and to 3GW – equivalent to the electrical power consumed by one million households – by 2020.
LG president and head of Energy Business Centre, Lee Sang-bong said the investment would put LG’s solar power business in a much stronger position, as “a dynamic engine for growth.”
“LG has been actively involved in the solar energy business for two decades and we believe that mainstream consumers are more than ready to give solar more serious consideration,” he said.
In response to the news, US solar industry insider Jim Jenal – founder & CEO of Run on Sun – said such a significant increase in production by a company like LG offered the hope of lower prices for premium modules over time, “making top-of-the-line solar affordable for ‘mainstream consumers’.”
For LG’s operations in Australia, the news is a welcome sign of the company’s commitment to solar over the long term, according to LG Australia’s Russ Prendergast.
“The LG Solar business in Australia has been building steadily over the past few years, and this has been well supported by LG globally with its 20-years plus experience in the solar market.
“Locally, the company has actively built exposure in the residential and commercial solar space by being one of the innovation and technical leaders.
“What this announcement means to the Australian market is that LG is clearly communicating its firm commitment to the solar industry… as well as its intention to provide a greater supply of high-quality and high-efficiency solar panels to suit an ever growing Australian market for commercial and residential solar requirements.”
“Our customers can be well assured that we are here for the long-term,” he added.