Trina Solar jumps the gun on ITC decision


Chinese solar manufacturer Trina Solar opted not to hang around waiting for the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to reach a verdict on Taiwanese-made solar cells, announcing the bolt-on acquisition of a mainland cell manufacturer today.

In a press release on its website, Trina Solar revealed plans to expand production at Hubei Hongyuan PV Science and Technology Co Ltd to 420 MW by the middle of the year.

With the ITC today expected to start the ball rolling on closing the loophole that allows Chinese-made modules featuring cells made in third-party countries to avoid U.S. anti dumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duties, a wave of major Chinese manufacturers whom outsourced cell production to Taiwan, and other neighbouring countries, could follow Trina’s lead in coming months.

Trina acquires majority stake

Changzhou-based Trina has acquired a 51% stake in Hubei Hongyuan, which is based in Xiantao in China’s Hubei province, from its parent company Shenzhen SC New Energy Technology Corp, which will retain the remaining 49% interest. No financial details of the acquisition were revealed in the Trina Solar announcement.

The JV will change its name to Hubei Trina Solar Co.

SolarWorld Industries America – the U.S. subsidiary of German manufacturer SolarWorld – prompted an investigation by the ITC into whether Chinese panels featuring Taiwanese and other third-party-made cells are damaging U.S. manufacturers unfairly by being dumped in America and whether they are benefiting from state subsidies.

The ITC is set to vote on the issue at 1700 CET today and Trina’s willingness to jump the gun and invest in Chinese cell production s a further indication of which way the wind is blowing.

The Trina acquisition comes in the wake of an announcement by the Chinese authorities of a 14 GW solar target this year, accompanied by a breakdown of the amount of solar which will qualify for incentives, by province.