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Jax Daily Record Friday, Mar. 30, 201811:36 AM EST

JinkoSolar to supply millions of solar modules to NextEra Energy

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Shanghai, China-based solar-panel manufacturer is planning a factory in Jacksonville.
by: Andrew Warfield Staff Writer

JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd., the Shanghai, China-based solar-panel manufacturer planning a factory in Jacksonville, will provide millions of solar modules to NextEra Energy. 

Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy said in a news release Friday that it is the counterparty to a supply agreement that was announced by JinkoSolar in January. 

Florida Power & Light Co. is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy. The Daily Record reported last week the then-unidentified counterparty likely was FPL.

Under the agreement, JinkoSolar will supply NextEra Energy with up to 2,750 megawatts of high-efficiency solar modules – roughly 7 million – over approximately four years.

JinkoSolar will be the first Chinese solar component company to set up a factory in the U.S. after President Donald Trump approved tariffs in January of 30 percent on imported solar panel technology.

JinkoSolar has a deal to lease a warehouse at AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center. The company was granted $3.4 million in city financial incentives March 27 and also is waiting for state incentives.

 The plant will employ 200 workers by the end of 2019 and JinkoSolar would make a $50.5 million investment to build-out most of the 407,435-square-foot Westside building.

“As NextEra Energy continues to invest heavily in new solar projects across the country, we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to buy cost-effective, reliable solar panels made here in America,” NextEra Energy Chairman and CEO Jim Robo said in the news release. 

From 2016 to 2023, FPL expects to install more than 10 million solar panels, the company said.

The utility said it is the largest generator of solar energy in the state with 14 major solar power plants and other installations that total 930 megawatts.

A megawatt is 1,000 kilowatts. One megawatt is enough to power about 750 homes at once, according to the California Energy Commission. 

FPL said that in 2018 it completed eight new solar energy centers that will generate more than $100 million in total system savings for customers, over and above the cost of constructing and operating the plants.

Once fully operational, JinkoSolar’s Jacksonville manufacturing facility is expected to have the capacity to build 400 megawatts of solar modules — more than one million panels — annually.

“This is a major win for Jacksonville and the community,” said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.

“JinkoSolar’s presence enhances our reputation as a manufacturing city, and I am eager to see the company contribute to the vibrant economy in Jacksonville,” he said.

“Investing in this solar panel manufacturing facility makes clear our commitment to Florida and the growing U.S. market,” said JinkoSolar CEO Kangping Chen in the news release.

“This will be one of the world’s most advanced solar panel manufacturing facilities, which will provide us with the flexibility and manufacturing capacity to support our local partners and growing U.S. customer base,” he said.

Operations at the new Jacksonville plant could begin as soon as October, JinkoSolar said previously. The company has said it anticipates using the Port of Jacksonville for much of its importing activities.

FPL serves about 4.9 million customer accounts, about 10 million people, across about half the state. As of 2016, it served customers in 35 of the state’s 67 counties, including Nassau, Duval, Clay, Baker and St. Johns in Northeast Florida. Most of Duval is served by JEA.

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