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JinkoSolar to Open Jacksonville Factory in February

Jacksonville Business Journal - December 14, 2018 - Allison Colburn - read full article here

JinkoSolar to Open Jacksonville Factory in February

Chinese solar panel manufacturer JinkoSolar will begin operating its Cecil Commerce Center factory by the end of February, one of the company's leaders said at the JaxUSA Partnership luncheon Thursday. Nigel Cockroft, the company's general manager for U.S. and Canada, was the keynote speaker at the event.

He said more than 100 employees are already working on site at the facility, which is located at 4660 New World Ave. The factory will employ at least 200 people, per an economic development agreement that the company has with the city and the state. The Cecil facility is expected to deliver 1.2 million solar panels per year, which is about two solar panels per minute. "The factory in Jacksonville will be the most advanced in the world," Cockroft said.

JinkoSolar will use JAXPORT for its exporting and importing. For the first few years of operation, a majority of the solar panel components will be imported from China. The facility will operate 24/7. 

Earlier this year, JinkoSolar received a state and city incentives package totaling $4.2 million. In exchange, the manufacturer has vowed to create jobs and spend $50.5 million on equipment and improvements at the site.  That incentives package includes a $5,000-per-job tax refund for up to 200 jobs for five years, with the city paying 20 percent of the refund, as well as up to a $3.2 million property tax break over the next 10 years. Average salary for the new jobs is expected to be $45,562.

Cockroft said that, when deciding where to locate the new factory, JinkoSolar had considered seven or eight different locations. The company ultimately settled on Jacksonville because of its availability of land, its access to several transit lines and because of the region's high-quality employees, such as military retirees. JinkoSolar will hold an opening ceremony for the new facility sometime in February.

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The Clay Florida Economic Development Corporation provides concierge service for companies who want to re-invest in expansion in the county or relocate their companies to the region.

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