Trina Solar Panels Review
Updated: Jan 21, 2019
Trina Solar is the largest manufacturer of solar modules in the world. In 2015 they shipped 4.55 gigawatts of panels which was 17% more than the runner up, Canadian Solar.
In 2016 Trina were named the world's most bankable solar panel manufacturer.
In October 2016 they broke the world record for multicrystalline solar panel efficency.
Trina Solar is a Chinese company. Canadian Solar is also a Chinese
company. Given Canadian Solar’s name that may seem strange, but the rule of thumb is if a solar panel manufacturer's name makes you think their panels are made in a country that isn't China, then they are made in China.
Trina Solar has 21 offices worldwide, including one in Sydney. They employ 14,200 worldwide, mostly in China. They are based in Changzhou which, as every schoolchild knows, is just a one hour train ride from Shanghai. Well, maybe not every schoolchild knows that, but I'm sure all the schoolchildren in China who know it would add up to a hell of a lot.
In addition to Chinese manufacturing capacity in they have a plant in Thailand that can produce 500 Megawatts of solar panels a year. In addition they have a small 200 megawatt capacity plant in the Netherlands to take advantage of the natural Dutch affinity for photovoltaics or possibly just to get around trade barriers.
Trina Solar Is A Tier 1 Manufacturer
Trina is a well respected name in solar panel manufacturing. They produce quality tier 1 panels that are installed around the world. They have a 10 year product warranty that is standard for tier 1 panels. While there are other tier 1 manufacturers that offer 12, 15, and in Sunpower's case, a 25 year product warranty, Trina's panels are a lower cost option.
Trina Is A Leader In Sustainable Solar Panel Manufacturing
The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition produces a report each year on how foul solar panel manufacturers are and Trina Solar turns out to be pretty damn not foul. They were the world leader in the report, which measures environmental and social responsibility, in 2014. In 2015 they took third place. The good news is they didn’t slip from their first place because they grew worse. Rather, they improved on their score for the previous year, but were overtaken by two companies that managed to improve by more.
Trina's Honey Panel Is Pretty Sweet
When Trina introduced its Honey panel in 2012 it was the world leader in multicrystalline efficiency and it still is. Trina named it the Honey Panel on account of how they wanted it to be in the “sweet spot” between cutting edge technology and cost effectiveness and not at all to create the impression they are a hive like organization that wants to extract sweet consumer surplus from thousands of customers.
Salt Mist Corrosion Resistance
All Trina Solar panels now state on their datasheets they are corrosion resistant. Certifications for corrosion resistance can be found on Trina’s download page.
Trinasmart Panels Have Built In DC Optimisers For Improved Performance
DC optimisers are little bundles of electronics that are attached to solar panels and enable them to act more intelligently and improve their overall output. So they simply live up to their name and optimise performance. These can be attached to panels when they are installed, but Trinasmart panels have DC optimisers produced by Tigo Energy built into the panels themselves, which makes installation a lot easier and faster.
DC optimisers generally don't offer enough of a performance boost to be economically worthwhile for many installations at the time of writing, but they can be very useful under the right circumstances such as trying to get the maximum amount of solar generation from a limited amount of roof space.
Trina Has An Energy Storage System That Is Not Currently Available In United States
Trina has produced a home battery storage system called Trina BEST but it does not appear to be available in United States. They may become available in the future, but currently Trina does not appear to have committed major resources to home energy storage production. My impression is Trina is simply keeping a finger in that pie for now and should they later decide to go into home energy storage in a big way they may try to pull out a plum.
Trina Panels Are A Good Choice
I have no problems recommending Trina panels as they have a cost effective combination of price and reliability. While there are panels out there I consider likely to be more reliable, you will have to pay a premium for them.