JinkoSolar Begins Construction On 20 Gigawatt Solar Cell Factory

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Tripling Solar Cell Production

JinkoSolar, one of the largest solar module producers in the world, is ramping up its solar cell production tremendously. It is building a 20 gigawatt solar cell factory that is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2021.

The factory is being built in Chuxiong, Yunnan Province, China. The first 10 gigawatt (GW) half of the factory is supposed to be online by May 2021.

If 20 GW sounds like a lot to you, that’s because it is. In fact, it’s such an enormous production capacity that this would make it the largest solar cell factory in the world, according to JinkoSolar (and I have no evidence indicating otherwise).

Also noteworthy, the 20 GW production capacity would resulting in a tripling of the company’s overall production capacity, bringing that total up to 30 GW.

The factory itself will be powered by solar PV and hydropower.

AAA Credit Rating — One of a Kind

JinkoSolar also recently announced a different kind of first in the Chinese solar market. It became the only solar PV company in the Chinese market to have a AAA credit rating. “This highest rating is the recognition of market quality credit management capabilities and levels of a company, through a comprehensive evaluation of the Company’s credit, quality assurance capabilities, market operation capabilities and other indicators, conducted by the China Association for Quality (CAQ). With this recognition, JinkoSolar sets a new company milestone and benchmark for the rest of the PV industry in terms of user satisfaction and quality management,” the company wrote on December 1.

“Leveraging the Company’s leading intelligent manufacturing process and product quality management, JinkoSolar has become a highly respected name in the global PV industry. It continues to elevate international standards for intelligent premium quality manufacturing, with its advanced intelligent equipment and excellent quality control system, JinkoSolar has been awarded numerous international quality certifications, and its outstanding reputation has contributed to positioning Chinese manufacturers as some of the most dominant players in the global PV industry beyond China. Based on its product innovation, supply stability and a well-established global service network — JinkoSolar has been ranked first in terms of global shipments for four consecutive years.”

The Chinese solar company’s mid-2020 annual production capacity of silicon wafers was 20 GW and its annual production capacity of solar modules was 25 GW.

This AAA rating came not long after Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) named JinkoSolar the most bankable solar module manufacturer. The company beat 48 other manufacturers to win that title. The ranking was “based on BNEF’s global survey of key PV stakeholders assessing which module brands used in projects are most likely to obtain non-recourse debt financing from commercial banks,” JinkoSolar notes.

“Survey respondents included banks, funds, engineering, procurement, and construction firms (EPCs), independent power producers (IPPs) and technical advisers involved in solar projects around the world. The survey addressed product quality, long term reliability, field deployment performance, and the manufacturer’s financial strength. JinkoSolar was considered highly bankable by 100% of the survey respondents. Further confirming JinkoSolar’s high bankability score, BNEF’s data also shows that projects using JinkoSolar modules have secured more term-loan financing than any other Chinese PV brand ever.”

100%! Being considered highly bankable by 100% of the varied and top-tier companies surveyed to come up with this ranking is remarkable. It’s hard to win 100% of the vote on anything these days, but in terms of being “highly bankable,” that’s stunning.

Project Leadership

A couple of project notes about the company, for a tad bit of historical perspective on that side of things, include that in October JinkoSolar was selected to supply bifacial solar modules for the largest bifacial solar project ever built in Europe — a 204 MW solar power plant — and that the company supplied the solar modules for the world’s largest solar PV project of any kind, a 1.2 GW project completed in 2019 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The contracted price for electricity from that Abu Dhabi solar project is a wicked low 2.42¢/kWh.

Tech Leadership in Multiple Regards

JinkoSolar has also been recognized in the past year for its tech leadership in a couple of ways. The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition ranked JinkoSolar #1 in its 2020 Solar Scorecard. It beat 36 other solar module manufacturers with a stunning 100/100 score.

“The Scorecard is a resource for consumers, investors, developers, EPCs, distributors, and installers who want to purchase PV modules from responsible product stewards. Criteria in the Scorecard includes environmental, health, and safety metrics. This achievement comes a year after JinkoSolar became the first PV module manufacturer to join the RE100, pledging to power 100% of its operations with renewables by 2025.”

I know, it’s ironic that only one solar PV manufacturer has a 100% renewable energy plan. It is what it is. At least JinkoSolar has now done so, and could hopefully trigger a flood of announcements from other solar PV companies. Maybe. We’ll see.

Additionally, the company set an efficiency record for “large-size contact-passivated solar cells.” Its large-area N-type monocrystalline silicon solar cells achieved 24.79% conversion efficiency. This record-efficient technology “will be gradually applied to product production.”

“JinkoSolar has reached a key R&D milestone and our commitment towards technological innovation in silicon material, cell fabrication and module processing technologies has led to multiple world records for the efficiency of solar cells and modules. We are very proud to break the world record with advanced large-area N-type cell in the world, and this innovative cell technology also holds the world record for PV module efficiency,” commented Dr. Jin Hao, CTO of JinkoSolar, at the time. “We will constantly invest in upgrading technologies to achieve mass production, and to lead the way by providing high efficiency and competitive industrial products for our global customers.”

JinkoSolar Has A Sunny Future Ahead

While 2020 was a tough year, it seems that it was also a helpful time period for ramping up cleantech industries, or hastening the transition away from fossil fuels to clean technologies. Cheap solar will only get more popular, and JinkoSolar is ready. Or it will be by the end of 2021, when its 20 GW solar cell production facility will go online. What else does the company have in store for us?

Image courtesy of JinkoSolar

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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