JinkoSolar has recently started construction of a 20GW large-scale solar cell manufacturing base in Chuxiong, Yunnan Province, China, which, once complete, will become the world’s largest single cell production plant.
Covering an area of around 666,500 square metres, the new base will increase Jinko’s in-house solar cell capacity from around 11GW as of last month to more than 30GW by the end of this year.
That capacity will be enough to propel Jinko to become the third-largest solar cell manufacturer in the world, following Tongwei (40GW) and Aiko (32GW).
Phase I of the Chuxiong facility, which will have a cell production capacity of 10GW, is scheduled to be commissioned by April 2021. It will enable Jinko to double production of its Tiger Pro series module this year, the company states.
The facility will be equipped with technologically advanced and automated production lines, boosting the plant’s efficiency and yield while helping bring new technologies from the R&D lab to production lines.
“It sounds easy, but in fact it is very difficult. Some of the key special equipment used in this plant was jointly developed by the equipment manufacturers and Jinko’s engineering team,” said Kangping Chen, the company’s CEO.
Over the last year, soaring material costs and OEM cell bottlenecks have impacted Jinko’s capacity, rendering it necessary to accelerate the construction of the new manufacturing facility. The new 20GW cell plant is critical to Jinko’s growth plans, enabling it to meet its internal cell supply requirements and reduce procurement costs.
Jinko commented that, by utilising cheaper renewable energy through vertical integration and supply chain development, it would further reduce cell production costs through automated and digitalised management. The methods to be adopted would include improving economies of scale, reducing waste and optimising processes.
Furthermore, the Chuxiong facility will be powered 100% by renewable energy once complete – deriving its power from a mix of rooftop solar PV modules installed on-site and local hydropower – becoming what the company claims will be the world’s first carbon-neutral solar cell production facility.