Trina buys Yunnan-based developer

Trina Solar will acquire a developer set to break ground imminently at a 300MW solar project in China’s southwestern Yunnan province, significantly boosting its near-term pipeline and expanding it into a key new domestic geography.

Trina has agreed to buy a 90% stake in Yunnan Metallurgical New Energy Co. (YMNE), which will begin construction by the end of September at a 300MW project in southern Yunnan, a natural resource-rich province bordering Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

The stake was put up for auction by YMNE’s three parent companies – Yunnan Metallurgical Group Co., Kunming Yeyan New Material Co., and Kunming Engineering & Research Institute of Nonferrous Metallurgy Co. – on an online bidding platform.

Those three companies will maintain a 10% stake in YMNE, which will “actively” seek new project opportunities in Yunnan province.

Terms of the sale were not published.

Like many of its Chinese PV manufacturing rivals, Trina has expanded aggressively into downstream project development and operation in recent years – both utility-scale and distribution generation.

Profit-making Trina, China’s second largest maker of PV modules, expects to bring 400MW-500MW of capacity online this year using its own modules – while shipping some 3.2GW of modules to external customers.

As such, the addition of a 300MW shovel-ready project to its development stable represents a significant deal for Trina, which earlier this summer raised nearly $240m via a new convertible bond and a follow-on share offering in New York to give itself “additional flexibility” in growing its downstream business.

Aside from the 300MW of capacity, the deal also expands Trina’s downstream activities into Yunnan province, with most of its current development work in China centred on the provinces of Gansu, Xinjiang and Jiangsu.

In explaining the acquisition of YMNE, Trina chief executive Jifan Gao points to “our partners’ market position and access to project resources in the region".