SPI 2014: Trina Solar targeting major module capacity expansion

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

Major PV manufacturer Trina Solar is planning to significantly expand solar module manufacturing capacity in 2014, according to documents seen by PV Tech.

The expansion was outlined in investor material provided at the ROTH Capital ‘Solar Symposium’, a parallel investor event held during Solar Power International 2014. 

Trina Solar has already been one of the most aggressive in a restrained PV industry capacity expansion phase for 2014, adding 1GW of module capacity to reach 3.8GW. CapEx in 2014 was originally guided to reach between US$230 million to US$250 million in 2014, but in its 2013 annual report, Trina Solar said spending would be up to US$231 million to meet its expansion plans. Trina Solar spent only US$72.1 million on CapEx in 2013, down from US$141.1 million in 2012. Only First Solar had guided higher CapEx in 2014.

Capacity expansion in 2015

Trina Solar has plans to take module capacity in 2015 to a range of between 4.8GW to 5GW, a similar rate of expansion as in 2014. However, wafer capacity is being held at 2014 levels of 1.7GW and solar cell production is only expected to increase 500MW to 3GW. 

However, with the majority of capacity additions focused on module assembly, the lowest CapEx spend for the highest capacity increase should result in Trina Solar spending similar amounts next year as in 2014. 

Asset lite 

One of the key aspects in keeping CapEx low has been Trina Solar’s ‘asset lite’ strategy, partnering along the supply chain in joint ventures (JV’s). 

According to the company, manufacturing JV’s added 500MW of module and 420MW of cell capacity for the company in 2014, a trend set to be followed in 2015. 

According to the presentation material capacity growth will continue to be disciplined and done in a capital efficient manner. 

PV Tech had previously highlighted that Trina Solar had purchased a majority shareholding in Hubei Hongyuan PV Science and Technology, a small solar cell producer as well as taking over operations of tier two module manufacturer, NESL Solartech.

Trina Solar is therefore leveraging the use of OEM, outsourcing and asset leasing to fill its wafering and solar cell capacity gap to modules. 

It is well known that Trina Solar relies of GCL-Poly for wafering but the company is expected to leverage Neo Solar Power (NSP) further in 2015 as it limits spending on new in-house solar cell lines. 

The company said that it would be up-grading cell lines to higher efficiencies, while working on further operational efficiencies to improve productivity. The company will also be using the likes of the largest merchant cell supplier for the remaining balance of cell requirements. 

Overseas expansion 

Despite the asset lite approach at home, Trina Solar noted that it was targeting new production capacity outside of China as it plans to further extend its strong market share gains in 2014 to 2015 and beyond. 

The company is therefore targeting new production capabilities for the US and European markets, both regions have anti-dumping legislation. 

As PV Tech has previously highlighted, meeting market demand in the US does not mean the company would establish production in the country. Mexico has been touted as a key destination for Chinese producers that deem the US a key market to operate in. 

Indeed, the US is a key market for Trina Solar, with module sales in the country accounting for 35.4% of total sales in the first half of 2014. Although this figure is set to fall due to higher shipments ahead of the second round of anti-dumping duties imposed on Chinese producers, Trina Solar expects the US to still account for around 17% of sales for the full year. 

It should also be noted that Trina Solar has achieved a CAGR of 62.5% since 2007 and cumulative module sales of 8.9GW in the same period to the end of the first half of 2014.

Downstream ambitions intensify 

Although Trina Solar’s growth rates have been impressive, PV Tech had highlighted many times that its downstream business ambitions lagged those of near rivals such as Canadian Solar. 

However, Trina Solar wanted to catch-up with its rivals and development of its downstream business meant PV project completions of between 400MW to 500MW were expected for 2014, with around 20% to 30% of projects expected to be overseas and the remaining pipeline coming from China.

Surprisingly, Trina Solar said that it now had a PV project pipeline of 8GW, with 900MW to 1,000MW categorised as priority pipeline development in 2014 through 2015. 

The company noted that 7GW of the total was residing in China, with greater than 6GW of framework agreements across China and 800MW of priority pipeline in 2014 and 2015. 

With strong market demand in key markets such as China, Japan and the US, coupled to its downstream ambitions, Trina Solar is setting the bar for manufacturers on many different fronts. 

10 November 2021
The solar tracker market continues to mature at breakneck speed, with designs and component selections becoming ever-more complex in the pursuit of better project economics. But a more simplistic design could deliver a triple benefit of lower Capex, EPC and Opex costs. This webinar will set out the ideal single axis tracker design for utility-scale solar farms. The design leapfrogs from decades of experience, with a comprehensive understanding and attention to the three cost structures of Capex, EPC and Opx. Sun and Steel Solar has prototyped a single axis tracker designed to deliver up to US$0.03/W in real savings compared to existing single axis trackers on the market. That’s US$30 million for every gigawatt deployed.
15 November 2021
The 10th edition of the famous Metallization and Interconnection Workshop, MIW2021, will take place in the Thor Central venue in Genk, Belgium, on Monday, November 15, and Tuesday, November 16, 2021 as a face-to-face meeting. We are longing for direct exchange of knowledge and ideas after a long time. Hopefully you can be part of it! But of course, the organizors will keep an eye on the evolution of the Covid pandemic. It will be assess carefully, whether the workshop can be held without major risks or excessive restrictions. We are looking forward to exciting talks, discussions and meetings and to welcoming you in Genk!
23 November 2021
The solar, storage and EV industries in the UK are going from strength to strength. There is no better place for the community to meet, share ideas and do business than Solar & Storage Live from 23-25 November at the NEC.There’s something for everyone; more than 150 exhibitors, a high-level conference, a start up and innovation zone, a poster zone, strategic partners to network with and much more. 
1 December 2021
Understand fully the technical and logistical supply chains that determine the production and performance of solar modules, including all related factors impacting quality, reliability & bankability. This event will be run online with streamed content, access to session recordings and chat/messaging tools for delegates to connect.
2 December 2021
Intersolar is the world’s leading exhibition & conference series for the solar industry. As part of this event series, Intersolar India in Mumbai is India’s most pioneering exhibition and conference for India’s solar industry. It takes place annually and has a focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production and solar thermal technologies. Since 2019, Intersolar India is held under the umbrella of The smarter E India – India’s innovation hub for the new energy world.
13 January 2022
Intersolar North America and Energy Storage North America “Come Together” for the first time in Long Beach, CA—connecting installers, developers, utilities, technology providers, policy makers, and key stakeholders from around the world to advance the clean energy future. With best-in-class conference programming, integrated exhibits and pavilions, and the live Solar Games installer competition, #isnaesna21 will showcase the industry trends, innovative solutions, and emerging talent transforming the solar, energy storage, and e-mobility markets. Register today to redeem our exclusive offer for PV Tech readers—free expo hall or 20% off full conference pass.

Read Next

October 21, 2021
A round-up of the latest news from the US solar market, featuring project financing from Cypress Creek and DE Shaw, SolarEdge project launches and solar loan securitisations from Sunnova and Mosaic.
PV Tech Premium
October 21, 2021
Chinese power restrictions are likely to change in Q1 next year and will consider the power necessity and industrial demand of certain regions. Nonetheless, polysilicon prices will remain high well into next year and could rise even further.  And, distributed solar is the future of solar PV generation in China.
October 21, 2021
US utility Hawaiian Electric is seeking proposals from resources including solar-plus-storage as part of its latest “all-source” renewables procurement round.
October 21, 2021
Tesla solar installations jumped by 46% year-on-year but fell slightly sequentially to 83MW in Q3 as the clean tech giant targeting greater profitability from its energy division.
October 20, 2021
Spain’s latest renewables auction closed with solar PV bidders being awarded just 866MW of capacity, with players such as Naturgy and Bruc among the winning participants.
October 20, 2021
The main shareholder of Falck Renewables is selling its controlling stake in the solar and wind developer to an investor advised by JP Morgan Investment Management.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
November 10, 2021
8am (PST) | 5pm (CET)
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021