Chinese solar panel maker Trina Solar is planning to build its third factory in Vietnam, which set to begin production in 2025. As one of the world's biggest solar panel makers by sales, Trina will invest $400 million in the plant which would span 25 hectares of industrial land.
Trina's new investment in Vietnam follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce, which reported in August that Trina was among five Chinese solar companies who used their plants in Southeast Asian countries to envade punitive tariffs on Chinese-made panels. The U.S. claims these panels benefit from unfair state subsidies.
The tariffs, which are due to come into effect next year, only impact Trina's Thailand operation so far, but the widespread practice of Chinese firms setting up facilities in Southeast Asia for export to the U.S. remains under scrutiny.
According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, the four top producing countries in the Southeast Asia account for about 80% of U.S. panel supplies, with Vietnam providing about one third of all U.S. imports of solar panels in the first quarter of this year.
Trina is already one of the biggest solar panel makers in Vietnam, and its planned investment highlights the growinginterest of Chinese firms in setting up factories there as they seek to avoid escalating trade tensions between Beijing and Washington.
Trina has two plants in Vietnam currently, one began making silicon wafers last month with an expected annual output of 6.5 GW, and the another produces solar cells and panels. It was not immediately clear what product the new plant would manufacture.
A source said Vietnam's power supply problems were being considered as the company weighed options for expansion. The heatwave in June hit the output of hydropower, Vietnam's second biggest source of electricity, forcing factories to temporarily suspend production.