JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd. is hiring and filing the paperwork needed to launch its Jacksonville manufacturing plant, according to city and state records and a company executive.
“The project is on schedule. We have already made initial hires and are actively recruiting,” said Business Development Director Jeff Juger.
Shanghai-based JinkoSolar agreed to open a 200-job solar-panel plant at AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center with the support of city and state incentives.
Juger said JinkoSolar is targeting an initial launch in September or October.
“We need 200 workers to be fully operational and we intend to be fully operational sooner than the end of next year,” he said.
CareerSource Northeast Florida will hold a Northeast Florida Construction and Manufacturing Job Fair next month that includes more than two dozen employers, including JinkoSolar.
The fair is scheduled 10 a.m.-1 p.m. June 14 at the Florida State College at Jacksonville Deerwood Center at 9911 Baymeadows Road.
Jinko Solar (U.S.) Industries Inc. registered its name with the state April 16. It applied as a foreign corporation to do business in Florida.
Juger was listed as the registered agent at 4660 New World Ave., the location of the plant, and the company listed its mailing address as its San Francisco sales office.
Officers, based in Shanghai, are Chairman Xiande Li, President Kangping Chen and Secretary Zhihua Wang.
Also, Jacksonville Tax Collector Michael Corrigan issued a business license to JinkoSolar US Industries Inc. based at New World Avenue.
JinkoSolar paid the $25.01 county and municipal tax May 11.
The business tax receipt for 2017-18 is valid until Sept. 30, after which it must be paid for the coming fiscal year.
JinkoSolar has not applied for a building permit to build-out the property, although Juger said the project is on schedule.
The Wall Street Journal reported recently that solar panel makers are stepping up U.S. manufacturing not only because of President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported solar panels, but also because of another change in U.S. policy.
It said the tax overhaul passed by Congress and signed by Trump allows businesses to immediately write off investments in assets. Also, the Journal reported, California voted to mandate solar panels on nearly all new homes in the state starting in 2020, increasing demand.
The Journal reported that JinkoSolar is figuring that U.S. manufacturing will be a good bet even after tariffs expire in four years.
According to the report, JinkoSolar Director of Investor Relations Sebastian Liu said the company sold 5 gigawatts worth of panels in the U.S. in recent years and was considering manufacturing expansion in the country before the tariffs were discussed.
“The local manufacturing will help Jinko respond to our newest customers’ demands in a quicker way,” he said.
The Journal said JinkoSolar expects to start panel production in Jacksonville as early as late August.
JinkoSolar agreed to supply Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy Inc., which owns Florida Power & Light Co., with 2.75 gigawatts, or about 7 million panels, over four years.
JinkoSolar has a deal to lease a 407,435-square-foot newly built facility at AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center in West Jacksonville.
The company agreed to employ 200 workers by the end of 2019 and invest $50.5 million to build-out at AllianceFlorida.
The city approved 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 for JinkoSolar to be repaid over five years.
The state will pay the remaining $800,000 of the total $1 million QTI refund. Other state incentives were not specified in a city fact sheet.