In the world of renewable energy, Trina Solar stands out as a trailblazer in sustainable innovation. After its 25th anniversary, the company has taken time to reflect on its remarkable journey and transformation. Born in a rapidly evolving world, where climate change demands urgent action, Trina Solar emerged in 1997 with a vision to harness the sun's power.
Its comprehensive CSR and ESG reports released every year outline the company's commitment to environmental, social, and governance aspects, highlighting the company's dedication to a green future. As a result, Trina Solar has gained the trust and confidence of customers and stakeholders. Trina Solar continues setting the benchmark for the industry, shaping the future of solar energy globally.
The photovoltaic products of Trina Solar have entered numerous households around the world, responding to the original intention of "Solar Energy for All" from the company’s inception. Here is an extensive insight into Trina Solar's sustainability efforts, groundbreaking achievements, and lasting impact on the global energy landscape.
Efficiency Records for Higher Environmental Impact
Trina Solar has been at the forefront of innovation and solar panel efficiency for over 25 years, breaking 25 world records regarding PV cell conversion efficiency and module output power.
These industry-leading efficiency records enable customers to generate more electricity from their solar installations, further enhancing overall sustainability of photovoltaic systems. Today, Trina Solar's solar modules get used worldwide to power homes, businesses, and even entire cities.
Continuous heavy investments in research and development, exceeding 5% of operating revenue, have led to some of the most efficient and cost-effective solar panels in the market. In fact, Trina Solar was the first company to mass-produce monocrystalline solar cells with an efficiency of over 25%. In 2021, Trina Solar launched 670W+ ultra-high-power modules, which ushered in the 600W+ era for the industry. The company also spearheaded the formation of the 600W+ Photovoltaic Open Innovation Ecological Alliance.
Currently, Trina Solar is shifting its entire production towards high performance n-type iTOPCon cells, with numerous benefits such as high power, high efficiency, high energy yield, high reliability and low degradation.
All of these industry-leading records and achievements have revolutionized the renewable energy landscape.
Integrated Green Manufacturing
Trina Solar's annual production and shipments of solar modules have grown to over 43 gigawatts in 2022. By March 2023, Trina Solar delivered more than 140 GW of solar modules internationally. Overall, Trina Solar's achievements in pioneering mass production have had a major impact on the global growth of the solar industry. The company's products have helped to make solar energy more affordable and accessible.
At the same time, manufacturing operations at multi-gigawatt scale represent a huge responsibility in order to ensure minimum environmental impact. Throughout all its manufacturing operations, the company is constantly striving to reduce its environmental impact. Energy, water, and resource consumption per megawatt of product manufactured are being constantly scaled down. The results are significant, with double-digit percentages in reduction year on year. Moreover, the company adopted responsible waste management practices from the start. Recently, Trina Solar became the first manufacturer in the solar industry to own and operate a certified zero-carbon factory, located in Yiwu, China.
Trina Solar has taken on industry leadership to propose and fully implement a vertical integration strategy, gradually forming a PV industry chain of silicon rods - wafers - cells - modules, ensuring that the company has its own raw materials and market while developing technology at a high speed. This vertical integration leads to a high level of control over component quality and availability, while it enhances supply chain transparency significantly.
At its vertically integrated industrial park in Qinghai, Trina Solar implements a variety of net-zero practices to achieve sustainable development, including operations, value chain and product management. Trina Solar will combine its technological and industrial strengths with Qinghai’s resources to build a stable and environmentally friendly energy system. Renewable energy accounts for 90% of energy resources in Qinghai, which will enable Trina Solar to manufacture solar products using mostly green energy.
Sustainable business is based on robust financials
Trina Solar's market leadership is evident in its substantial market share. In 2010, we were named the first "Industry Shaper" at the World Economic Forum in Davos, ranking highly amongst global PV companies. The company's robust financials and sustainable investments have attracted investors seeking reliable and socially responsible opportunities. Trina Solar has consistently achieved top bankability ratings by banks and industry peers over the years. This is reflected in the top position, seven years in a row, in the annual BloombergNEF PV Module and Inverter Bankability Report; as well as the consistent AAA rating in PV Module Tech’s bankability rating. PV Evolution Labs rated Trina Solar as “Top Performer” for the ninth consecutive year in their annual PV module reliability scorecard. In addition, Reuters selected the company for their "Top 100 Innovators Leading the Energy Transition" list. This selection makes Trina Solar the only Chinese solar tracker provider company included in the list.
Trina Solar's commitment to environmental stewardship has been at the core of its operations over the last quarter century. The sustainable business focuses on minimizing its ecological footprint by promoting green practices. We have implemented various initiatives to protect the environment and drive the transition to clean energy.
The company has undertaken numerous initiatives to reduce carbon emissions in manufacturing and operations. In 2016, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) awarded Trina Solar with Gold ratings for Environmental Excellence.
Trina Solar has implemented comprehensive take-back and recycling programs for end-of-life solar panels. In Europe, we are full members of PV Cycle. The company was also among the first industry players to fully implement the European Union’s WEEE directive. Recycling solar panels prevents valuable materials from entering landfills and supports a circular economy.
Sustainable Product Design
Reducing the environmental footprint of its products is a top priority for Trina Solar. The company’s Vertex modules have been awarded the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) certificate by TÜV Rheinland, becoming the first solar company to receive LCA certification for 210mm modules. With the advantage of 210mm wafers, the Vertex modules achieve industry-leading low carbon emissions: The average carbon emissions of PV modules’ LCA “from cradle to gate” in China are about 550kg CO2_E/kW. Trina Solar's 210mm Vertex modules carbon emissions are less than 400kg CO2_E/kW, without using special silicon materials. Its carbon emissions are at least 30% lower than average.
But we don’t stop at reducing manufacturing emissions – we design sustainability into our products themselves. Trina Solar maximizes the lifespan of modules by combining high performance, low-degradation N-type cells with a robust dual-glass structure, with a guaranteed service life of a 30 year minimum. A longer lifespan combined with high cell performance over many years result in a significantly higher lifetime yield, while reducing the need to replace and recycle the product.
While Trina Solar continues to ramp up manufacturing capacity, all newly-built production facilities are designed for dual-glass technology. We have been an industry pioneer in this sturdy, reliable technology and firmly believe in its benefits. Not only are modules more durable and longer lasting; we have also managed to reduce material usage. The brand-new Vertex S+ module uses ultra-thin glass, making it even lighter than its back sheet peers. At the same time, by replacing the back sheet with a second layer of glass, we manage to save the environment approximately 1kg of plastic material per module.
Choose Trina Solar
These efforts, combined with Trina Solar's sustainable financials and transparent reporting, demonstrate the company's commitment to responsible business practices. With its unwavering focus on sustainability, Trina Solar continues to inspire and lead the way toward a more environmentally conscious energy sector.
Trina Solar has come a long way in its 25 years, making significant strides in the solar industry from a startup to a global market leader. The company has pioneered the mass production of solar panels, installed solar power plants worldwide, set industry-leading efficiency records, and been a leader in environmental stewardship. It is now fully embracing the integrated solutions approach including not only components such as modules, mounting systems and storage technologies, but also consulting services connecting the dots in project development at any scale.
Trina Solar is well-positioned to continue leading the way in the solar industry. Through continuous innovation, we have set industry benchmarks and shaped the future of solar energy, making significant contributions to the global transition toward sustainable and clean power generation.