Trina sells first Chinese PV plant

Trina Solar has sold its first utility-scale PV project in China, a landmark deal for a company staking an increasingly large portion of its future business on downstream project development in its home country.

Trina will sell for an undisclosed amount a 50MW plant it recently connected to the grid in Gansu province to Huadian Fuxin Energy Corp, an arm of state-owned energy giant China Huadian, which is a major investor in both wind and solar assets.

Trina, the second largest supplier of PV modules globally, sees the sale as “a good start for 2014 as we make more progress with our downstream projects pipeline in China”, says chief executive Jifan Gao.

Trina expects to take 400MW-500MW of PV capacity on line in China this year, potentially soaking up nearly 15% of the company’s module output.

In the final quarter of 2013 Trina inked a 1GW strategic framework agreement in China’s restive northwestern province of Xinjiang, in a deal which could see the company build a module factory in the area.

Trina also has a few dozen megawatts under development in Europe.

Most of China’s major PV manufacturers have diversified aggressively into project development over the past few years – including, notably, Yingli and JinkoSolar, the latter of which intends to spin-off its projects business into a separate company via an initial public offering in Hong Kong or the US.

Canadian Solar, the most successful project developer among China-based manufacturers, is primarily focused on projects in Canada and Japan, although it also has several hundred megawatts under development in China.

Trina took in just 13% of its revenues in China in 2012, but that figure rose to 28% in 2013 – and is likely to continue growing due in no small part to its projects business.