Market scale in China forecast around 40GW
Q: Single-shaft tracking-type mounting systems are increasingly used in countries including the US. What are your prospects in this market?
CEO Gao: The power generation amount increases by 25 to 30% on average when tracking-type mounting systems are used, compared with fixed-type mounting systems. The initial cost may be high, but the investment efficiency will be improved, because the income will increase by 8 to 12% due to the increase in the power generation amount.
Trina tracking-type mounting systems were added to the solution by acquiring a European manufacturer that had been operating for more than 13 years. We have strength in proven reliability and stability.
Our products have already been introduced to the US, South America and the Middle East in large amounts. There is a national project called the "Top Runner Project," a 500MW project to which latest technologies are introduced, in China. Panels and tracking-type mounting systems manufactured by Trina Solar were adopted by the project (Fig. 2).
Only a limited number of such products are used in the Japanese market, but we think the number will increase gradually.
Q: A wide range of restrictive policies, including reduction of subsidies to solar power generation and lowering of the purchase price, were announced last year in China, and there was concern about rapid deceleration of the market. What are the actual impacts of the announcement?
CEO Gao: Following the policy change last year, shrinkage of the Chinese market to a certain level is unavoidable. The scale of the global solar power generation market in 2017 was 103 to 104GW, of which 53GW was attributable to the Chinese market. The scale of the global market will remain about the same in 2018, but the Chinese market shrank to 40 to 42GW. However, we do not think the scale will continue to shrink in the coming years including this year. The market scale will stabilize at about 40GW in 2019.
The above estimation is based on the fact that grid parity has been achieved in some regions in China. These regions are not affected by the political change and significant growth is expected in these regions. In addition, introduction to poor regions, where political support continues, will be accelerated. A certain level of subsidies is also provided to solar power generation facilities installed on houses and rooftops of commercial buildings as well as on-ground mega solar power plants.
Competition will be severer than ever for solar panel manufacturers, but we believe that Trina Solar will be able to exhibit its strength in products intended for houses, and so forth, taking advantage of our high-efficiency panels and measures for reduction of overall power generation cost. Our goal regarding products intended for houses is "mounting our panels on 1 million houses."