JinkoSolar’s new cell factory currently under construction in Chuxiong, Yunnan province, will be the biggest individual cell manufacturing facility in the world with 20GW capacity in total. Chuxiong Factory occupies about 67 hectares of land. The first phase of 10GW initially planned to roll out mass production by April 2021. With Tiger Pro pre-order flying off the charts, JinkoSolar expects to double its panel production by 2021. If JinkoSolar hits its 20GW projection, the cell capacity of the company will climb to over 30GW, which is a big milestone and it is a step in the right direction for JinkoSolar.
Smart Factory to Improve Energy Density and Efficiency
As a smart factory with the most advanced and intelligent automated production lines, the “exit rate” of cells from Chuxiong factory will literally be faster than bullets from a machine gun. And it will have a state-of-the-art recycling system for a sustainable development. In addition to its massive scale, there is a lot of innovation that needs to be done, including new advanced machinery that is partially customized. “This sounds simple but it’s actually very difficult, in fact a lot of the critical specialized equipment we use for this factory is jointly developed by machine makers and JinkoSolar engineering team,” said Kangping Chen, CEO of JinkoSolar. “It doesn’t exist, it’s being designed and made now at a bench-top level and we are aiming soon to have it done at a pilot plant level.” The latest achievements of R&D lab will be proved also by the smart production line, which will speed up the process for ultra-efficient cells to enter mass production.
Initial production by April 2021
The first phase of 10GW initially planned to roll out mass production by April 2021. With Tiger Pro pre-order flying off the charts, JinkoSolar expects to double its panel production by 2021. To meet this demand, Chuxiong facility has to move the schedule ahead by 6 months.
Scale Up and Cost Down
The spike costs of materials and OEM cells were hurting panel makers’ performance, for example forcing JinkoSolar to speed up the construction of its cell manufacturing facility located in Chuxiong, Yunnan province. The new 20GW cell facility will be crucial to the company’s growth plans and enable it to reply on in-house cell supply and slash procurement costs. This factory aims to further reduce cell production cost through vertical integration, adding economies of scale, reducing waste, optimizing processes, fully automation and digitalized management, tiding up the supply chain, and utilizing cheaper local renewable power.
Kangping Chen, CEO of JinkoSolar also commented, “Building up a factory or designing the prototype of any advanced technology is relatively easy,” he said. “Scaling up to high volume production at low cost is very hard. That’s because the scaling up for the production process is much harder than ringing something out on a lab bench”.
The First Carbon-Neutral Factory
Furthermore, Chuxiong Base will be the first carbon-neutral factory, being 100% powered by renewable energy. It will have solar panels covering the roof, while also drawing energy from local hydropower.