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Trina Solar Plants at Full Capacity as Demand Outstrips Supply

Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL), China’s second-biggest maker of solar panels, said its factories are working at full strength and it can’t meet customer demand.

“Right now Trina is producing at 100 percent capacity and selling at all rates, yet we still can’t meet all customer demand,” Chief Executive Officer Gao Jifan said today in an interview in Tianjin, southeast of Beijing.

China’s top three solar-panel makers are all producing at full capacity and will need to expand to meet customer requirements, Gao said, citing the results of a survey unveiled by China’s solar industry association yesterday at an industry forum in Beijing. He didn’t elaborate.

The company’s solar-panel capacity will rise to 3.8 gigawatts this year from about 3.4 gigawatts at the end of June. Annual solar-cell capacity will rise to 2.8 gigawatts from 2.4 gigawatts in 2013, Gao said.

Trina, China’s largest profitable panel manufacturer, this year plans to build 400 megawatts to 500 megawatts of solar-power plants, including distributed systems. China will account for more than 80 percent, Gao said.

Trina is increasing its efforts to build solar-power stations including the 1-gigawatt project in the western region of Xinjiang, announced in December. The company said earlier this month that it agreed to buy a 90 percent stake in power-plant developer Yunnan Metallurgical New Energy Co.

Government Support

Yunnan Metallurgical is developing a 300-megawatt solar farm in Yunnan province. Construction is scheduled to begin this quarter.

Chinese banks should give more financial support to solar companies to expand capacity and upgrade technology by granting loans to industry leaders, Gao said.

The company has yet to formulate plans to pay dividends to shareholders because U.S.-based investors, mostly institutional holders, are focusing more on profitability, Gao said.

Trina joined JinkoSolar Holding Co. and JA Solar Holdings Co. in reporting profits in the second quarter. The Changzhou-based company hasn’t paid dividends to shareholders since its initial public offering in 2006.

China’s total solar installations are expected to reach about 50 gigawatts by 2015 and climb to 150 gigawatts by 2020, Gao said.

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