Talesun pivots Thailand fab towards sanctioned US market with high efficiency retrofit

Release Time:2019-06-28

The Chinese manufacturer has embarked upon an upgrade of 1.5 GW of its module production lines which is set to be completed this year. Previously used to get around trade restrictions applied by the EU, the Thai facility will now produce output for the U.S. market.

Talesun doesn’t appear to have confidence President Trump will relax trade measures on Chinese solar products any time soon.

Image: Matt A.J./Flickr

As brokers and ratings agencies around the world try to read the runes ahead of tomorrow’s planned G20 meeting between presidents Trump and Xinping, it seems Chinese solar module maker Talesun is none too confident of a breakthrough in the continuing U.S.-China trade war.

pv magazine has learned the Jiangsu based manufacturer is partway through an extensive refit of its cell and module manufacturing lines in Rayong, Thailand, to upgrade output to high efficiency models including bifacial products.

And with a company insider revealing Talesun Solar has already received hundreds of megawatts worth of module orders from U.S. customers this year, the company is clearly pivoting its Thai output away from the EU – where sanctions against Chinese-made panels have lapsed – and towards a U.S. market where Section 201 tariffs very much still apply.

Free pass for bifacial

With bifacial modules recently excluded from President Trump’s tariff regime, the company will expect to ship significant amounts but the factory retrofit – which will see 1.5 GW of annual module production capacity upgraded to high efficiency output – reflects the fact Talesun sees no immediate prospect of a thawing in trade measures applied against Chinese-made solar products.

Talesun began the retrofit in February and next month expects to complete the first phase of the upgrade, which will provide 400 MW of module capacity based mainly on 158.75mm 5BB or 9BB half-cut cells. The same materials will be used in a further 900 MW of production capacity which will be upgraded in phase II, during September. By the end of the year, Talesun plans to have a further 200 MW of capacity to complete the Thailand upgrade, with that portion of the production operation based on larger 166mm cells.

The Thailand facility was previously used for the Talesun modules shipped to Europe during a period when anti dumping and anti subsidy duties made way to the minimum module price set by the EU on Chinese imports.