Leases  ·  Office

Korean Solar Panel Manufacturer Qcells Opens DC Office

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Qcells, the solar panel division of Seoul, South Korea-based manufacturer Hanwha Corporation, has inked a 7,000-square-foot lease at Lafayette Tower, an 11-story office building at 801 17th Street NW in Washington, D.C.

An affiliate of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing owns the 324,500-square-foot building, which was finished in 2010 and is currently under renovation. The company paid $229.8 million for the property in 2014, according to public records.

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Qcells will use the space as its first government affairs office in the U.S. The rent was not disclosed, but average office rents in the area are $56.27 per square foot, according to a recent market report from Newmark (NMRK), which represented the tenant in the lease. 

In January, Hanwha announced it was investing $2.5 billion to build a state-of-the-art facility in Bartow County, Ga., that will manufacture 3.3 gigawatts (GW) of solar ingots, wafers, cells and finished panels. The company also said it would assemble an additional 2 GW of solar panels at its Dalton, Ga., facility, which is the largest solar panel manufacturing plant in the Western Hemisphere.  

It is one of many clean energy firms taking advantage of tax credits since the passage of President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which includes more than $300 billion in subsidies to tackle climate change.

“As demand for clean energy continues to grow nationally, we’re ready to put thousands of people to work creating fully American-made and sustainable solar solutions, from raw material to finished panels,” Justin Lee, CEO of Qcells, said at the time. 

In addition to its Georgia locations, Qcells also has locations in Irvine, Calif., and San Francisco. 

In April, national law firm Fried Frank renewed its 103,000-square-foot lease in Lafayette Tower to remain its anchor tenant. 

Newmark’s Doug Damron and Chris Lucey represented Qcells in the lease, while Kyle Luby and Andy Eichberg of Stream Realty represented the owner.

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.