New York Stock Exchange-listed Chinese company Jinko Solar, the fourth-largest solar PV manufacturer in the world, unveiled an R80-million solar photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing plant in Cape Town on Tuesday.
The factory – the company’s first outside of China – will produce up to 1,300 solar panels a day, translating to 120 megawatts (MW) in solar power generating capacity per year.
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said at the opening that the new facility would create 250 new jobs directly, as well as additional work in secondary industries such as solar panel installation and maintenance.
She said the Western Cape provincial government had forged a partnership with a local technology tertiary institution to send local students to China for training in solar panel manufacture and maintenance.
Jinko Solar MD Morgan Peng said wider use of solar panels would also help take some of the load off Eskom’s power grid.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, speaking on the side-lines of the US-Africa leadership summit in Washington, said the government had supported Jinko Solar’s investment through the reduction of red tape and support on local content requirements.
Davies said the green economy has been identified as a key focus area in the government’s Industrial Policy Action Plan, adding the its renewable energy programme for independent power producers was fostering the growth of a new industrial sector in South Africa.