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Trina Solar Evaluates 5 GW cell Factory in the U.S. to Enhance Local Production Capacity

published: 2024-06-20 16:25

According to foreign media reports, Steven Zhu, CEO of Trina Solar's North American business, recently stated that Trina Solar USA is evaluating the construction of a cell factory in the United States with an annual capacity of 5 GW to supply its module manufacturing plant in Wilmer, Texas.

In September 2023, Trina Solar USA announced an investment of over $200 million to build a photovoltaic module production plant in Wilmer, Texas, with an annual capacity of approximately 5 GW, expected to be operational in 2024. At that time, there were no restrictions on importing photovoltaic cells from Southeast Asia to the United States, so the Wilmer plant planned to use solar cells from Trina Solar’s Southeast Asia facilities.

However, in May of this year, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations on crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells (whether assembled into modules or not) imported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Subsequently, heavy tariffs might be imposed on photovoltaic cells from these four Southeast Asian countries, which would weaken the competitive advantage of Trina Solar’s module products in the U.S. market.

In response, Trina Solar stated in its investor relations activity record: The company has been actively promoting its global layout to enhance competitiveness in overseas markets and strengthen overseas risk resistance. Currently, the company has 5 GW of module capacity under construction in the U.S. and 1 GW of cell & module capacity under construction in Indonesia, both expected to be operational within 2024. Additionally, the company has reserve capacity projects in the UAE.

Building a 5 GW cell factory in the U.S. might be an important step in Trina Solar's global layout. Steven Zhu also revealed that the Texas factory will initially use solar cells from Southeast Asia, but considering Washington's push for more local production, Trina Solar hopes to rapidly increase cell production capacity in the U.S. The company will make a final decision on the new factory by the end of this year, with the new factory expected to be operational by late 2025 or early 2026.

Ofweek notes that although the U.S. market is not as large as the Chinese and European markets, it is highly contested by major photovoltaic companies, possibly due to high gross margins. According to Trina Solar’s annual report, its overall gross margin in 2023 was 15.54%. The gross margin in the U.S. market was 34.24%, compared to 12.17%, 16.47%, 20.48%, and 14.69% in China, Europe, Japan, and other markets, respectively.


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