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Jax Daily Record Monday, Mar. 12, 201803:02 PM EST

City confirms Project Volt is JinkoSolar

China-based company plans to invest $50.5 million at Cecil Commerce Center, create 200 jobs.
by: David Cawton Staff Writer

The city of Jacksonville has confirmed that Project Volt is JinkoSolar (U.S) Inc.

Office of Economic Development Executive Director Kirk Wendland said Monday that Volt was the code name used to shield the company’s identity while the city negotiated an economic development deal that included at least $54 million in state and local financial incentives, grants and tax breaks.

On March 8, the city said it would terminate the Volt agreement approved by City Council in January and introduce legislation for an economic deal with JinkoSolar (U.S.) Inc. 

Office of Economic Development Executive Director Kirk Wendland

“The reason we wanted to terminate Project Volt is because it is JinkoSolar,” Wendland said.

The Volt economic development agreement and summaries described, but didn’t name, JinkoSolar.

JinkoSolar (U.S.) is the United States subsidiary of Shanghai-based JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd., a global manufacturer of solar panels and modules.

Council approved the Volt agreement Jan. 23. It included nearly $25 million in city-backed incentives in exchange for 800 jobs and the creation of two facilities in North and West Jacksonville to establish a North American headquarters, manufacturing and distribution facilities.

The company was planning to invest $410 million to build out and lease an 815,000-square-foot warehouse at 2969 Faye Road in North Jacksonville for a solar-panel assembly and distribution center and a 407,353-square-foot building at 4660 New World Ave. in AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center in West Jacksonville for a manufacturing plant.

“After further discussions with their board, they’re looking to minimize, to reduce their initial investment in the U.S.,” Wendland said Monday to the Mayor’s Budget Review Committee.

The committee gave Wendland permission to introduce separate bills to council to terminate the Volt agreement and proceed with the JinkoSolar deal.

Wendland said his office used the same formula to determine the new incentives package, giving the city the same return on investment of 1-to-3.

In the new agreement, JinkoSolar would invest $50.5 million at the Cecil Commerce Center location and create 200 jobs. It still plans to make Jacksonville its North American headquarters, council Vice President Aaron Bowman, a JAXUSA Partnership executive, said Thursday.

Wendland said JinkoSolar would lease about 75 percent of the Cecil Commerce Center building.

If approved by council, the city will provide tax incentives of $3.4 million, comprising a $3.2 million Recapture Enhanced Value grant to be paid over 10 years and a $200,000 Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund to be paid over five years.

The state will pay the remaining $800,000 of the total $1 million QTI refund. Other state incentives have not been specified.

Wendland said the company is anxious to get started.

“They have a lease to be effective April 1,” he said. “We hope this is just the beginning.”

Officials from the city and JAX Chamber previously declined to identify JinkoSolar as Project Volt, which is allowed by Florida law.

Volt was the first fast-tracked economic development agreement introduced to council in 2018.

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