Trina Solar Not Planning to Follow Competitors Into Malaysia

Trina Solar Ltd., the biggest producer of photovoltaic panels, said it has no plans to open a production plant in Malaysia, following a report that the nation had rejected a proposed factory.

“We do not currently have any active applications in Malaysia to set up manufacturing facilities, nor do we have any plans in the immediate future,” Yvonne Young, director of investor relations at the Changzhou, China-based company, said in an e-mailed statement Monday.

Trina will continue to supply components to a local manufacturer in Malaysia that assembles them into modules, Young said. The company is building its own factory in Thailand. It’s opting not to follow smaller, Chinese rivals into Malaysia to avoid import duties in the U.S. and Europe.

Malaysia is seeking to to protect its solar industry amid concerns that some Chinese companies are using the country as a transshipment hub to avoid U.S. and European Union trade sanctions, according to an article Monday in the Malaysian Reserve.

The country “ turned down an application from the world’s biggest solar maker,” the article said, citing Ali Askar Sher Mohamad, chief operating officer of Malaysia’s Sustainable Energy Development Authority.

China’s dominance over the global solar industry has led to accusations of dumping, and duties on imports into the U.S. and Europe.

Chinese solar producers have been expanding their capacity outside China to avoid those duties. Southeast Asia is attracting the most investors given the region’s low labor costs, local policy incentives and proximity to China, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

China’s JinkoSolar Holding Co. opened a new factory in Malaysia in May that will be able to produce 500 megawatts of panels a year. First Solar Inc. and SunPower Corp., the largest U.S. solar manufacturers, also produce panels in Malaysia.