China-based solar panel manufacturer Jinko Solar is set to invest $52m to expand its only US production facility, with the city of Jacksonville in the US state of Florida approving a grant for the project.

The Budget Review Committee of the Mayor of Jacksonville approved a ten-year grant of $2.3m to Jinko Solar on 10 April, which will facilitate the project. Jacksonville City Council is scheduled to enact legislation for the grant on 25 April 2023.

The grant will cover half of the increase in ad valorem taxes (tax based on the assessed value of the factory) that Jinko Solar would need to pay over a ten-year period due to the plant expansion.

The existing 26,000m2 manufacturing facility at Cecil Commerce Center in West Jacksonville was first opened in 2018 and employs 274 people. Jinko Solar says the expansion of the plant will create an additional 250 jobs at the site.

Work at the plant involves robots placing strings of solar cells onto a specialised backing to form the base of a completed solar panel.  

Jinko Solar is one of the largest solar panel manufacturers in the world. It operates 12 factories, 25 logistics centres and 35 services centres across 160 countries, according to its corporate website.

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Its Jacksonville plant is its only manufacturing facility outside of Asia. Most of its manufacturing plants are in China, although it also has factories in Malaysia and Vietnam.

In March 2023, fellow Chinese solar panel manufacturer LONGi announced a partnerhip with Invenergy to build a new manufacturing facility in the US state of Ohio.