UPDATE: 500 new solar jobs coming to Dalton
UPDATE: More than 500 new jobs are heading to Whitfield County because of a new solar module manufacturing facility. Construction will start next month at the Carbondale Business Park in Dalton.
The flooring industry is Dalton's bread and butter. Officials hope a new kind of industry like solar panels will diversify the area by creating new opportunities and making Dalton recession proof.
The empty field at Carbondale Business Park may not look like much, but soon it'll be home to a solar cell manufacturing facility. A South Korean company called Hanwha Q CELLS Korea is making Dalton their first U.S. location.
That announcement brings a $150 million dollar investment and 525 jobs over the next three years.
"So, to have 500 new jobs in Dalton, I think would really help our community," Caroline Mooney, a Dalton resident said.
Mooney sees this as an opportunity for more people to work and live in the city she calls home. So do officials with the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce.
"The hope is that some of those folks can stay home and not be on the road as much and have a good job here," Carl Campbell of the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce said.
Campbell with the chamber said the readily available plot of land and trained workforce attracted the South Korean company.
The business park is home to one other business called XL Brands, which makes adhesives.
Whitfield County Commission Chairwoman Lynn Laughter said the addition of a solar panel facility gives Dalton a new industry and a layer of protection from the double digit unemployment rates that hit the area during the Great Recession.
"It was very tempting to put flooring in there, but the whole purpose of the park was to diversify our industries. So, we call this our game changer and we're really excited about it," Laughter said.
Chamber officials said the Korean company will pay workers more than $15 an hour on average. The facility will mostly be an assembly plant with some high skilled jobs.
In return, the company is receiving at least $15 million in land and tax incentives.
"There's a lot more to Dalton than just carpet. You got to have the cones. You got to have samples. You got to have yarn. There's dye. There's all kinds of chemicals. A lot people just don't realize. They just think of carpet," Mooney said.
Chamber officials said the company plans on hiring soon.
Channel 3 contacted the company, which is based in South Korea to find out what specific skills they're looking for, but has not heard back.
A South Korean company that manufactures solar modules will invest $150 million in a manufacturing facility in Dalton.
The move will mean more than 500 new jobs for the area. The facility will be built at the Carbondale Business Park.
“Georgia has maintained strong partnerships with Korean businesses for more than three decades and this announcement is yet another reflection of our reputation as a premier destination for international business,” said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.
“By establishing a presence in Whitfield County, Hanwha Q CELLS Korea will join a number of Korean-affiliated companies that operate at least 80 facilities in our state."
Hanwha Q CELLS Korea will produce high-performance photovoltaic modules at the new facility. The facility is scheduled for completion in 2019.
“We are excited to bring our technology leadership to Georgia in manufacturing solar modules and look forward to building long-term relationships to further expand our manufacturing base and contribute to environmentally sustainable energy solutions,” said James Choi, vice president of Hanwha Q CELLS Korea.
Hanwha Q CELLS is headquartered in South Korea and currently operates manufacturing facilities in Malaysia and China.
READ MORE | Hanwha Q CELLS jobs website