Solar panel manufacturer Qcells said Jan. 8 it will supply 12 gigawatts (GW) of solar modules from its Georgia factory to Microsoft Corp., marking one of the world’s largest renewable energy agreements.

The modules have enough capacity to power more than 1.8 million homes annually, Qcells said.

The companies’ eight-year agreement, which also includes engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, was announced as South Korea-headquartered Qcells aims to strengthen the solar supply chain in the U.S. and as Microsoft looks to further green its operations. The companies formed a strategic alliance about a year ago, with Microsoft tapping Qcells for at least 2.5 GW of solar panels and related EPC services. The latest deal builds on the 2023 agreement.

“Our expanded agreement with Qcells is designed to drive large-scale domestic production of solar modules essential to advancing a resilient U.S. supply chain and clean energy economy,” said Bobby Hollis, vice president of energy for Microsoft. “Through long-term agreements like this we are signaling Microsoft’s demand and bringing more renewable energy to the grid, faster.”

Qcells said it will collaborate with Microsoft to bring an estimated 1.5 GW of solar panels a year to Microsoft’s contracted projects through 2032.

Microsoft, which uses massive amounts of electricity to power its datacenters, is targeting 100% renewable energy supply by 2025 and carbon neutrality by 2030. The company’s sustainability goals also include plans to become water positive by reducing water-use intensity and replenishing more water than it consumes — as well as having zero waste by 2030.


Qcells Lines Up $2.5 Billion for US Solar Supply Chain Buildout

Tech Giants Leading Clean Energy Movement

Like its peers, using more solar energy is among the ways the tech giant is shrinking its carbon footprint. Technology companies such as Microsoft are among the world’s top purchasers of clean energy. A 2022 report by American Clean Power showed Microsoft ranked in the top five of corporate purchasers of renewable energy.

The agreement locks in a buyer for solar modules made at Qcells’ Georgia facility in Cartersville, which is part of Qcells’ $2.5 billion investment, announced in 2023, to build a complete solar supply chain in the U.S.

Solar module companies have been incentivized to establish factories in the U.S., lured by tax credits made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Solar panel manufactures can receive a tax credit on a percentage of their production costs through 2033. The U.S., which has net-zero by 2050 ambitions, aims to increase domestic supplies of solar components to reduce reliance on foreign countries.

“Qcells is uniquely positioned to ally with Microsoft towards creating a clean, sustainable future because of our investment in building an American-made solar supply chain,” said Qcells CEO Justin Lee. “We look forward to expanding renewable energy frontiers together today and tomorrow.”