2018 has seen Trina Solar achieve greater heights despite market setbacks and various trade policy changes all around the world. With US$2.04 billion in revenue for the first half of the year—an increase of 13% compared to the same period in 2017— and a cash reserve of US$687 million, the company ushers in the rest of the year with confidence and optimism.
Trina Solar Chairman Jifan Gao attributes the company’s success to four key factors: a solid globalization strategy, competent risk assessment, meaningful production portfolio, and a full-scale transformation of the business. This holistic and strategic approach has ensured growth in 2018 despite the rise of internal trade barriers and other obstacles faced in the competitive PV industry, propelling Trina Solar to become the world’s leader in production scale and market share.
1. Solid Globalization Strategy: Building offices and promoting localization around the world to balance fluctuations in individual markets
Currently, Trina Solar has realized over 9GW in global coverage and expanded to 103 countries, with offices in 40 countries and employees from 38 countries. Furthermore, it has also established six major management centers across four continents which will become increasingly localized and thus optimized for efficiency.
The company has expanded beyond mature markets by penetrating into emerging markets and achieving over 60% market share in some of them. These emerging markets include the Ukraine, the Middle East, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. Mr. Gao believes that this has allowed Trina Solar to achieve stable annual growth by balancing fluctuations in individual markets and strengthened its overall resistance to market volatility.
“Even when the market is at its best — both in China and overseas — we are still able to guarantee supply overseas,” said Mr. Gao, expressing his confidence in the company’s globalization strategy. “In 2017, Trina Solar’s overseas sales exceeded China’s sales. From the supply point of view, overseas market contributed over 55%.”
2. Competent Risk Management: Dedicated committee that evaluates and gives recommendations on major market risks
The globalization strategy is backed by a highly competent risk management committee that was established by Mr. Gao. The committee aims to evaluate and provide dedicated management of forecasted major risks. This helped Trina Solar to raise a lot of cash and effectively lower the company's debt ratio. For instance, the rise of international trade barriers is happening in total contradiction to the globalization trend of business development. Trina Solar took both into consideration when the PV maker began to sketch out plans for the globalization of its capacity a few years ago.
Trina Solar’s risk management has proven to be successful with cash reserves increasing by 44 million USD in 6 months since end 2017. Debt ratio has also been reduced to 62% by mid-2018 compared to 67.5% at the start of 2018. To date, Trina Solar maintains a balance of 1 billion USD with a total credit limit exceeding 2.9 billion USD.
3. Meaningful Production Portfolio: ensuring quality and efficiency through optimizing processes and transforming workforce
The importance of maintaining competitiveness through a diversified and meaningful production strategy has also been highlighted by Mr. Gao. In line with its solid globalization strategy, Trina Solar has refined its portfolio by making it structurally meaningful rather than simply pursuing scale. The company has several efficiency-optimized manufacturing plants and partners globally, including a 1GW cell and 1GW module plant in Thailand, a 1GW cell plant in Vietnam, a 700MW module plant in Malaysia, and manufacturing partners in Turkey. Combined with domestic capacity, the company's global module and cell capacity has now reached approximately 8.5GWand 8.5GW respectively.
A meaningful production portfolio also means transforming its capacity according to market supply capability and state-of-the-art technology. At present, 2GW in capacity is being converted to polycrystalline high efficiency MCCE process; by mid-2019, total PERC and PERT capacity will amount to 6.5 GW. In an effort to improve the quality of the company’s workforce, Trina Solar has also utilized automation and intelligent upgrading to increase capacity from 1.5GW to more than 8.5GW.
4. Full-scale Business Transformation: Developing a win-win partnership with clients and facing the challenges of the digital age head on through continuous product innovation
Trina Solar has transformed from the previous professional manager model to a model similar to a business partnership, which adds more value to today’s clients. Since 2017, Trina Solar has decided to aggressively drive the business units and platforms inclusive of production sectors, sales, downstream solar module solutions, and Energy Internet aspects. Strategies include driving vertical integration and developing smart PV solutions for the 21st century. A clear example of this would be the launch of TrinaPro — an all-in-one, smart solar energy system — to the market in March 2018.
With premium components, optimized system integration and smart O&M interconnectivity, TrinaPro fully integrates the interaction of the tracking system, smart inverter and bi-facial solar modules to complement the environment and boost power output by up to 30%. The optimized design equates to greater efficiency, which ultimately delivers greater value to the client.
Although the launch of the product has been revolutionary for both Trina Solar and the market it serves, this is just the beginning of the company’s efforts in developing smart and efficient solar solutions for clients. As the PV market prepares for the final quarter of 2018, Trina Solar continues to be the world’s leader in both market share and technological innovation, striving to deliver a better future for all through sustainable energy solutions.
This year, Trina Solar’s has also placed themselves at the forefront of innovation by introducing smart solutions such as TrinaPro to the market. With premium components, optimized system integration and smart O&M interconnectivity, TrinaPro fully integrates the interaction of the tracking system, smart inverter and bi-facial solar modules to complement the environment and boost power output by up to 30%.
Although the launch of the product has been revolutionary for both Trina Solar and the market it serves, this is just the beginning of the company’s efforts in developing smart, value-added and all-in-one solar solutions for clients. As the PV market prepares for the final quarter of 2018, Trina Solar continues to be the world’s leader in both market share and technological innovation, striving to deliver a better future for all through sustainable energy solutions.