The Mayor’s Budget Review Committee voted 7-0 on April 10 to introduce legislation for incentives to support solar panel manufacturer JinkoSolar’s proposal to invest more than $52 million in its Cecil Commerce Center plant and create 250 jobs.
The city Office of Economic Development sought the committee’s approval to introduce legislation to Jacksonville City Council for an economic development agreement for a grant of $2.3 million over 10 years.
The Recapture Enhanced Value Grant would be equal to 50% of the increase in ad valorem taxes paid by JinkoSolar over the first 10 years, with a maximum payout of $2.3 million.
A city project summary and legislation fact sheet says JinkoSolar has 274 employees at its plant at 4660 POW MIA Memorial Parkway, Suite 200, in AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center in West Jacksonville.
China-based JinkoSolar opened the 283,652-square-foot facility in the fourth quarter of 2018 to make solar panels for residential and commercial uses across the United States. It is the company’s only U.S. manufacturing plant.
Advanced manufacturing robots at the JinkoSolar (U.S.) plant in Jacksonville place strings of solar cells onto a specialized backing that form the base of a completed solar panel.
Under a previous economic development agreement with Council Ordinance 2018-149-A, JinkoSolar committed to create 250 jobs and to invest $40 million.
The summary says the company has created 274 jobs and invested more than $63 million. It says the factory produces one solar panel per minute “and is the most advanced manufacturing facility in the Southeast US.”
“Due to overwhelming growth and demand of its product, JinkoSolar needs to triple their current capacity,” the summary says.
It says JinkoSolar, whose stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange, has more than two dozen manufacturing facilities worldwide.
The summary says JinkoSolar has been evaluating other locations in the U.S.,“which have made significant offers.”
The summary says the Office of Economic Development believes “we are now in a favorable position to have the expansion happen here in Jacksonville.”
JinkoSolar would invest $52 million in building improvements, machinery and equipment and create 250 jobs by Dec. 31, 2026.
According to the summary, the grant would be “layered atop” the existing REV grant that is capped at $3.2 million, of which $1.6 million has been paid to date.
JinkoSolar told the city that incentives are a material factor in its decision to expand its operation in Jacksonville rather than another location.