Module manufacturer Trina Solar has reported record first quarter module sales of 1,026.2MW for Q1 2015.
Revenues were down 20.8% from the previous quarter but a 25.5% increase year on year.
"We are pleased to announce the strongest first quarter in our company's history,” said Jifan Gao, CEO, Trina Solar. “We exceeded our own guidance as well as market expectations. We maintained our leading position as one of the largest solar companies in the world, with record shipments of over 1GW during what is traditionally the weakest quarter of the year.
“Our gross margin rose quarter-on-quarter from 15.7% to 18% as our cost reduction efforts continue to generate positive results which more than offset the decline in the average selling price during the quarter. We also recorded a more favorable geographic sales mix alongside stronger sales of our higher value-added products," he added.
"In line with increasing global demand, our plans to expand our capacity remain on-track for both our domestic and overseas facilities, which will ensure we will be able to meet growing demand for the remainder of the year and beyond. Our Malaysia facility, along with our recently announced Thailand facility, will serve to not only expand production, but also enhance our competitiveness in the global markets."
Shipments to Japan and Europe "grew substantially" he added in a conference call with investors. This was partially driven by Japan and the UK reaching the end of their fiscal year.
Module shipment guidance for the year remains unchanged at 4.4-4.6GW. Project guidance is also static on 700-750MW with the majority coming in the second half of the year.
“We are very much constrained by capacity,” said CFO Teresa Tan during a call with analysts. “We have been running 24/7 and didn’t even take time off during Chinese New Year. New capacity is very much needed.”
The company also said it expected to play a key role in assisting India to meet its goal of installing 100GW of solar without giving any further details. India is understood to be keen to encourage solar manufacturers to establish production facilities in the country. Tan said Trina would also expand its downstream business to India this year.
Consolidation and yieldco
Gao also welcomed recent consolidation in the solar industry.
“The industry is developing in a healthy and orderly fashion. We’ll to continue to leverage our competitive advantages as consolidation continues,” he said.
“As consolidation continues there will be a lot of changes but we have the ability to succeed and have an exciting year,” added Tan.
Asked about the company’s plans for a yieldco-style spin off, Tan said the venue for that was still being considered.
“We still have the plans to spin-off the downstream business. It is very different compared to the module business. Spinning it off means it can have its own finance platform and management.
“As for timing, there’s not a lot of change, we’re still evaluating the venue, the US, Hong Kong or [mainland] China. The end of the ITC means there could be doubts about a yieldco [in the US] but China and Hong Kong could also be viable. We are considering our options still. The timing will depend on our ability to develop and complete projects. When we reach critical mass it would be better value for investors and the company to spin off at that time,” explained Tan.
Full financial results are available through Trina's investor relations department.