Sustainability is more than a catchword at Trina Solar. It’s the guiding principle behind the company’s products and practices. As a sustainable business in the PV industry, Trina Solar recently reaffirmed its values and outlined its vision for the future during a BloombergNEF-hosted session on renewable energy.
While its ideals are lofty, the group’s plan is grounded in past achievements and its leadership’s commitment to transparency as well as sustainability.
Looking Forward: A Net Zero Future
Trina Solar creates photovoltaic (PV) products that enable other businesses to meet their environmental goals. In its own operations, the company does more than practice what it preaches. It insists on “transformation from the top,” embracing corporate responsibility and all-encompassing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives.
Commitment to a Negative Carbon Footprint
Trina Solar aims to use exclusively renewable energy — resulting in fully carbon-free manufacturing and operations — by 2030. As it continues to develop low-carbon alternatives, it will cut manufacturing emissions in half by 2025.
Between green energy purchases and its own PV stations and rooftop electricity, Trina Solar already boasts total carbon emissions which are lower than its total carbon emission offset. The company has passed the bar for a carbon-neutral business. As a leader in renewable energy, it now sets its sights on carbon zero.
Trina Solar has also committed to further reducing water consumption and landfill-destined waste, continuing the giant leaps it has been doing in that respect for many years.
Compliance With Global Regulations and Initiatives
Trina Solar’s standards outpace international regulations, however the company remains enthusiastic about developments in green energy standards.
At the regional level, the company endorses the European Union’s guidance over the last five years, from the European Green Deal to the EU Ecodesign Directive.
The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) identify climate action, responsible production, and clean energy as major priorities. Trina Solar commits itself to these objectives and other goals that intersect with the group’s ESG responsibilities.
As a member of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the company also pledges to follow policies in line with the organization’s mission to reduce global warming to 1.5°C.
Innovation in Renewable Energy Products
In converting its entire manufacturing capacity to 210 mm Vertex modules, Trina Solar capitalizes on the emissions-reducing potential of this family of products. Certified by reputable third-party bodies, the 210 Vertex line delivers industry-leading lows for carbon emissions in its life-cycle assessment (LCA).
The Vertex line also introduces the next generation of solar energy technology for Trina Solar. The Vertex N will be fully available starting in 2023. It uses Tunnel Oxide Passivated Contact (TOPCon) technology, which has been anticipated as the eventual successor to Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact (PERC) solar cells.
Insistence on Transparency and Traceability
Trina Solar vows to protect employees’ rights and insist on environmentally responsible practices in its suppliers. It requires that businesses be available for audits and pledges to reject bids from any supplier who refuses to cooperate with its demands to abide by compatible principles.
Determined to do no less for its own customers, the group set up an IT traceability system. The development contributes to the customer’s ability to track the impact of any Trina Solar product at every stage.
Looking Back: Trina Solar’s Performance as a Sustainable Business in the PV Industry
Trina Solar has long demonstrated a clear commitment to transparency, publishing annual Corporate Social Responsibility reports on the past year’s performance. As a leading member of the impact investing community, the company provides customers with detailed information on its environmental health and safety indicators.
This year, it also published an ESG report, becoming one of the first businesses to adopt this new standard. In doing so, Trina Solar responds to a growing demand for ESG information from suppliers. Customers often need to pass on relevant information to their stakeholders. Moreover, the company models the transparency it intends to demand in its own supply chain.
Trina Solar has not only nothing to hide but also much to celebrate.
The ESG Report for 2021
The ESG report covers Trina Solar’s management methods, initiatives, activities, and key indicators related to its annual ESG performance. The group collected data across the entirety of Trina Solar, an organization with various branches in more than 100 countries and 17,500 employees in 2021.
Here are a few highlights from the report.
Trina Solar’s environmental performance in 2021:
- 1,090 million kWh clean energy generation in China only
- 38.93 tCO₂ₑ/MW greenhouse gas emissions per unit output
- 51 MWh/MW power consumption in module manufacturing
- 0 material environment breaches
Trina Solar’s social performance in 2021:
- 83 professional safety officers
- 92,605 hours of employee training
- 0.39 total reportable rate of employee incidents
- 1 million EUR public welfare donations
- ≅80% recovery rate for packaging materials
Trina Solar’s financial performance in 2021:
- 6.74 billion EUR operating income
- 273.3 million EUR net profit (parent company)
- 11.27% return on equity (weighted average)
2021 was a year of dramatic growth for Trina Solar. It saw a year-on-year increase of 51.20% in operating income and 46.77% in net profit attributable to the parent company. At the same time, it met all of its ESG goals, in many cases improving on 2020 numbers.
The company takes particular pride in the low rate of employee incidents, a number that dropped between 2020 and 2021. This reflects Trina Solar’s dedication to improving employee conditions and safety measures.
In the words of Gonzalo de la Viña, President EMEA at Trina Solar, "Our responsibility and commitment is to drive technological innovation along the value chain to push for the transition into a carbon-free world … We are more than ready to provide maximum transparency and traceability because our sustainable way of doing business is deeply ingrained in our DNA."
With clear objectives and a record of ESG excellence, Trina Solar exemplifies sustainable business in the PV industry. A true carbon-neutral future requires everyone to pull together in light of a global challenge. Trina Solar is proud to establish itself as a leader in PV innovation and a partner you can trust.