Trina shifts focus to Australia's big solar market, grid delays and all | RenewEconomy

Trina shifts focus to Australia’s big solar market, grid delays and all

Global PV giant shift Australia focus from residential to utility-scale and large C&I, with an integrated smart solar offering and a “very positive outlook” on the market.

Trina Solar's Golmud project in China

Global PV giant Trina Solar, which says it currently supplies around one-third of Australia’s residential solar installations, is shifting its focus to the utility-scale and large commercial and industrial markets, with an integrated smart solar offering.

The company is at the All-Energy Australia 2019 exhibition and conference this week in Melbourne to spruik its TrinaPro package as a “best value solution” for Australia’s utility-scale solar sector.

The solution integrates high output modules, smart PV controllers and trackers, smart inverters and digital cloud-based software, that promise lower the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) for solar farms by boosting their generation output, and simplifying engineering, procurement and construction.

Trina argues that system integration – and so-called “single window delivery” – is becoming increasingly important as large-scale PV systems become more complex, in the eternal quest to achieve higher levels of power output and lower LCOE.

“The integration of smart trackers into TrinaPro can provide up to a 6 per cent power boost for Trina Solar DuoMax bifacial solar modules by angling them to reduce the effect of shading,” said Tina Asia Pacific’s director of solutions services, Holger Schenk, in comments on Wednesday.

“Tracker technology can also be used to protect solar panels from hailstorms, which occur in some parts of Australia. The tracker can angle the panel to be perpendicular to the ground.

“There has been a lot of interest in Australia in TrinaPro. We are in detailed discussions now with customers,” added Schenk, who notes customers are interested in TrinaPro partly because of the potential to offer performance warranties for the solar system.

Technology aside, the timing of this shift in market focus is interesting, with Australia’s only large-scale renewables incentive coming to a full stop, and roadblocks emerging on the grid connect side of the equation, as networks struggle to accommodate a huge pipeline of new renewables.

So does this worry Trina?

“If you ask me, I think the Australian market is very well managed, and organised, which is very good for all of us in the long run because it is more predictable,” said Ku Jun Heong, Trina’s Asia-Pacific director of sales and marketing.

“It means that when we do our business investment planning and resource deployment, at least we know what is expected to come. And we will make the adequate investments … and deploy the right resources.”

Ku says that while business has definitely slowed for Trina in the large-scale sector, thanks largely to increasingly protracted approval and grid connection processes, he doesn’t expect the current lull to last long.

“We are very positive about the Australian market, that’s the reason we are putting a lot more resources (into it),” he said from All-Energy on Wednesday.

“Projects are picking up now. They will get approval by the end of this year and we expect to see the market pace picking up a lot more in Calendar Q1.”

And in the meantime, there is plenty of work to be picked up in Australia’s large commercial and industrial markets, where the appetite for higher yield generation technology has also been increasing.

“Trina Solar is the only the company in the industry today that is integrating the module, tracker, and inverter with a level of the smart energy tracking algorithms to improve the entire system efficiency,” Ku told RenewEconomy.

“By integrating the tracker with the bifacial module that we introduced to the market, I think, there are a lot more incentives and advantages to using these solutions.

“Trina has been in Australia (since 2011) and we are here to support the Australian markets,” he added.

“We are here for the long haul… we are very committed, because Australia is very, vert important market for us.”

Trina’s first utility-scale project using TrinaPro is the 250MW Golmud project – pictured above – in China’s Shaanxi province.

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