Trina Solar aims for global PV ranking

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"The United States' solar photovoltaic (PV) industry will undergo a period of rapid development in 2011 and the number of products our company supplies to the US market will be doubled," said Gao Jifan, chief executive officer of Trina Solar Ltd, a Chinese leading solar PV manufacturer.

"There is no doubt that we will treat the US as a very important market in the future," he added.

According to Trina Solar, the company's PV products accounted for 13 to 15 percent of the US market in 2010, a 10 to 12 percent increase compared with the previous year.

"We sold PV products with a combined total energy output of 130 to 150 megawatts (mW) to the US in 2010, which made us the fourth-biggest provider to the US, and we are up against some tough competition including US domestic companies such as First Solar," Gao said.

He said Trina Solar is cooperating in a power project with Southern California's Edison Corp, one of the largest utilities in the state, to provide 45 mW of PV products and related services.

As the European market becomes mature and stable, many PV manufacturers are looking for new buyers in new markets. North America and Asia are likely to draw the most attention because of their fast-growing solar markets and supportive policies.

"By the end of 2014, these two markets for solar PV products will account for more than 50 percent globally, with North America taking up 25 percent and Asia making up 25 to 30 percent," Gao said.

According to the National Development and Reform Commission, China's PV installed capacity was 500 mW in 2010. Trina Solar provided between 8 to 10 percent of that total.

Gao said that China's solar power market will grow and provide many opportunities for companies such as his.

"China's domestic PV production capacity in 2010 was 1.1 gigawatt (gW). I believe it will register an increase of 60 percent in 2011," he added.

Trina Solar is aiming to become the biggest global manufacturer of PV products by the end of 2015. In addition to mass module production, the company will also provide system design, installation, project development and distribution. It is one of the few PV manufacturers to have developed a vertically integrated business model ranging from the production of cells to the assembly of modules.

"We will continue to make efforts to provide integrated services. We estimate that 20 percent of our profit will come from service provision within five years and that figure could even rise to 50 percent," Gao said.

He said the Chinese PV industry has undergone rapid development in the past five years, but by the end of 2015 the speed of industry development will slow down, resulting in consolidation in the industry. By the end of 2020, the number of the big players in the solar power market will be fewer than 30 to 40 globally, Gao predicted.

"Chinese companies need to take opportunities to grow stronger. First, we need to globalize, and second, we need to build up our brands creativity is the key for growth," he added.

According to Trina Solar, the company invested 500 million yuan ($76 million) in research and development in 2010, which equaled to 5 percent of its sales revenue.

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