A big year for solar manufacturing
Niche publishing sometimes has its perks. Write for a car magazine and you might be invited to test-drive a luxury brand. Food publications often get free samples of new flavors to taste-test. Solar magazines though — no one is letting me test-drive a pile-driver or sending me solar panels for my home (*ahem*). The most exciting thing to happen to solar editors is being invited to manufacturing plants, and that hasn’t happened much lately.
But, wow, 2019 is promising to be a big year for traveling and seeing new factories for this solar editor. I was excited to kick the year off with a visit to JinkoSolar’s new 400-MW solar panel assembly plant in Jacksonville, Florida. The facility began a pilot line in November 2018 but officially held its ribbon-cutting in February and opened its doors to customers and solar manufacturing fans like me.
I don’t like the phrase “state-of-the-art.” It’s overused and often misrepresents basic facility upgrades. But JinkoSolar’s new Florida plant is a state-of-the-art solar manufacturing site, in the truest sense. Never have I seen a place more organized and automated than Jinko’s new home for both 60- and 72-cell mono PERC modules. See my full report of the visit on our website: solarpowerworldonline.com.
I really hope to take a peek at other manufacturing sites this year, and the Solar Power World team already has a few trips lined up. Hanwha Q CELLS announced soon after Jinko’s February opening that its 1.7-GW assembly plant in Georgia is up and running. LG should also soon have its manufacturing site in Alabama ready to go. Still other U.S. manufacturers are working on expanding existing plants, and it’s been exciting to see solar manufacturing excellence spread across the country. And who would have thought our first look at the latest solar technology advancements would be in Northern Florida? Almost anywhere is better than Solar Power World’s Cleveland, Ohio, HQ in February. I’ll take it!
Make sure to follow me on Twitter at @SolarKellyP to see where I visit next.
Editor in Chief