Founded in 1997 as a PV system integrator, Trina Solar is one of the leaders in photovoltaic modules, solutions and services. Trina Solar drives smart energy together with installers, distributors, utilities and developers worldwide. The company’s industry-leading position is based on innovation, superior product quality, vertically integrated capabilities and environmental stewardship. Gaurav Mathur, Director Sales, Trina Solar India in a vivid viz-a-viz with Manas Nandi, Editor, Saur Energy International shares about the company’s upcoming product, manufacturing facility in Atchutapuram, current efficiency and more.
Q. Please brief us about the company’s R&D infrastructure & upcoming products.
Trina Solar has state key laboratory, which is the only lab in China and we are investing a lot in R&D activities. We have around 200 scientists doing all kinds of research and for last 3 years we are having maximum power output, but those are not available commercially. Altogether, we are all set for next generation technology. We have all kind of modules like Mono, Mono-PERC and also developing some more different kinds of modules. Apart from this, we have also tied up with Australian University, Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) and other institutes.
Q. Trina Solar is investing Rs 2,800crore for solar manufacturing facility in Atchutapuram. Kindly shed some light on the development and your plans with the manufacturing unit?
Trina Solar has penned a MoA with the Andhra Pradesh Government. We have also earmarked the land near Vizag in one of the SEZ. Currently, there is over capacity in the market, so we are again doing our due diligence. Our team present in India, are perennially scrutinizing whether it will make sense and what is the right time to put up a plant. We are still investigating more on all these aspects.
Q. How soon can we see this major Make in India plant edified by Trina?
It all depends once we finalize the prospective avenues. We are expert in manufacturing so we expect once the decision is made it should not take more than 9 month or a year to put up both cell and module plant. Because module plant will take just 5 to 6 months to start.
Q. Any specific technology you will be working on or its both existing mono and poly which will be on prime focus?
As said, it will all depend on the investigation and market demand, but seeing the Indian market we are currently shipping poly modules. So our primary focus will be poly modules but yes we will be having mono modules too.
Q. Once the facility is established, will you be exporting the modules from here or will that be consumed within India?
Yes, we are planning to export the modules manufactured here to US and Europe, but the major consumption will be in India that is why we are setting up the facility here.
Q. Can you please tell us, what is the current efficiency of your modules that are being shipped to India?
We are currently supplying modules with efficiency of around 17%. We have modules with more efficiency but looking into the price aggressive Indian market we are selling poly modules of 60 cells and 72 cells in India.
Q. According to official statements, 30 Inhouse tests are being done on Trina’s solar modules. Can you please tell us more on these tests that are performed to check the quality?
For the last five years we stand in top three lists, the quality check in every point makes us top tier I company. As prior cited, we have state key laboratory which is in-house that is been accredited by Science and Technology department of Ministry of China, apart from this it was the first lab in the world which was certified by Client Test Data Protocol (CTDP) by UL, wherein no UL or TUV certification is required when test is done in Trina laboratory. So that is the reason that all type of checks is there. The best thing is that it is in our own campus, so we have every kind of test possible for UL as well as IEC except fire test.
Q. Beside the large utility scale projects, is Trina eyeing the Rooftop segment too?
Yes, we are shipping smaller volume to the rooftop customers like 5KW, which is the lowest we have shipped till now. We have two of our distributers in India who are catering the indigenous customers. Apart from this we have separate team for the rooftop who are concentrating on the rooftop segment, because we understand in coming years rooftop will be a very big market in India.
Q. How much market share do you expect in the rooftop segment alone?
Our overall market share is more than 20% and definitely we would like to keep this 20% market share both in rooftop as well as in utility projects.
Q. Installers are the decision-makers for the smaller rooftop market, how do you plan to reach that end installer?
Being one of the reputed brands in India, so whosoever is into solar business knows what is Trina is all about. Secondly, we are participating in different shows which are primarily in non-metro cities. We have list of installers in those cities. We’re approaching them and spreading awareness. Installers too know the quality of Trina and that is the reason that we are seeing lot of traction and lot of sales happening in rooftop market. Rooftop is unorganized sector, there are very little player who are organized or who have big company, but we are approaching everyone and regardless of their volume which also duly illustrates our recent shipping of 5KW in volume.
Q. Trina Modules are undoubtedly are of highest class, but if some-day some problems occur what will be your turnaround time to address those issues?
We have a warehouse in Chennai where we keep atleast 500KW to 1MW stock to cater that small rooftop market as well as for the replacement. I think 1MW is sizeable number of modules wherein we replace within two weeks time.
Q. Trina has been operating in India for more than 6 years, how have you seen the market changing?
I remember when I joined Trina in 2011, the market was very small and we use to sell 30MW-40MW in a year. But from 2015, the volume has increased significantly and in 2016 we are expecting to surpass a Gigawatt target. With the changing dynamics of the market, requirements of all the EPC companies and developers and their technical knowhow is increasing which puts us in advantageous position. As being one of the big and reputed companies we bring along a very good track record. Our consistent quality has marked a positive customer retention altogether. Moreover, our office in Delhi, legal entity in India with active customer and logistic support enables us to cater customers at a jump. Lastly, it’s worth stating that we are getting an overall positive response from India.