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Trina Solar survives its biggest hurdle

Updated: 2013-10-11
By Zhang Qidong in San Francisco ( China Daily )

 Trina Solar survives its biggest hurdle

The Park Villas project in National City, built by Trina Solar, is the largest multi-family affordable solar housing project in California. Provided to China Daily

Trina Solar survived a 23.75 per cent combined net tariff imposed by the US government in 2012 and maintained its No 1 global ranking for environmental and social performance in the 2013 Solar Scorecard, an award established by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC).

"We are very proud to have maintained our top-ranking in this leading environmental survey," said Gao Jifan, chairman and CEO of Trina Solar, one of the top Chinese solar companies, with more than 20 offices and support centers worldwide. "Trina Solar is deeply committed to its environmental and social responsibilities and we continue to integrate this philosophy across all of our operations and markets. We look forward to continuing to support the delivery of clean solar energy by truly green PV (photovoltaic) manufacturers."

In August, the company reported second-quarter net revenue of $440.7 million, an increase of 69.4 per cent from the first quarter of 2013, and approximately 647 mega-watt shipments of solar modules, a sequential increase of 64.6 percent from the first quarter.

"With robust global demand, we took full advantage of our global sales network and strong brand to seize available commercial opportunities. In terms of pricing, the average selling price of modules has stabilized, reversing the falling trend seen in previous quarters," said Gao. "As a result of our on-going efforts to improve operational efficiency and control manufacturing costs, we achieved continuing reductions in non-silicon costs, which contributed to quarter-on-quarter margin improvement."

The second quarter saw regulatory uncertainty surrounding anti-dumping against PV imports from China in Europe, but the company's geographic revenue diversification helped mitigate such regulatory risks, according to Gao. "We achieved strong sequential shipment increases in growth markets including China, the US, India and Japan, which added to our stable shipments to Europe," he said.

With construction completed on a 50 megawatt-watt power plant in Wuwei, Gansu province in China, the facility is expected to be grid connected and begin initial electricity generation by the end of the third quarter of 2013.

"For our downstream system business, we remain focused on research and development and committed to delivering innovative products and solutions to lower installation costs, while enhancing the efficiencies and ease-of-use of solar energy," said Gao.

John Gann, CFO of the company's US operation, said Trina Solar has aimed to establish PV markets that drive smarter energy choices through technology-driven innovation, and is growing its business by partnering with US installers, distributors, utilities and developers.

"As a global enterprise, we strive to conform to international and local trade practices in all markets. The tariffs imposed on us will not affect the offering of Trina Solar product lines that are not subject to these tariffs. Although the tariffs delayed affordable market access to our most efficient cell technology-based products, we survived and have done well," said Gann.

He said like other markets, the strength and vigor of the US solar industry is largely driven by state and federal taxes and solar policies.

In 2012, the US solar industry had its second-best quarter ever, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA). "The industry installed 772 megawatts (MMW) of solar electric (PV and CPV) capacity in Q2 2012, representing a 125 percent increase in deployment over the second quarter of 2011," the association said in a statement. US Solar Market Insight - a quarterly publication of the SEIA and GTM Research - reported that the trend will continue.

"As the US solar industry progresses toward 2016, it is becoming increasingly clear that system prices will fall significantly," said Gao, 47, who also serves as vice chairman of All-China General Chamber of Renewable Energy. "This will enable a substantial volume of installations in some states to be built using only federal incentives. As system prices continue to fall, additional markets will open up and drive demand despite the likelihood of waning state-level financial support for solar projects.

"Effective state policies, particularly those pertaining to net-metering and permitting, will still be needed in order to accelerate deployment in some markets. Based on our experience in the US, and forward-looking market analysis, Trina Solar has made a significant investment in the US market and is optimistic that this market will continue to grow."

Gann, who has been CFO of Trina Solar since 2010, said the company is committed to sustainable solar manufacturing through continuous innovation and industry-leading environmental and corporate social responsibility.

As a leading manufacturer of high-quality modules with a long history of being a solar PV pioneer since 1997, the company has adapted production requirements to meet US market needs and will continue to assess options and serve all markets, he said.

"Our company is one of the few PV manufacturers that have developed a vertically integrated business model from the production of monocrystalline and multicrystalline silicon ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of high quality modules, " Gann said, "Our products provide reliable and environmentally-friendly electric power for a growing variety of end-user applications worldwide."

kellyzhang@chinadailyusa.com

(China Daily USA 10/11/2013 page11)

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