The Talesun plant opened in December as the largest fully-automated solar panel manufacturing facility in the world.
The company is prepared to sell a gigawatt of solar a year, said Eric Ma, general manager of the company’s U.S. headquarters in California.
“Our main market is China,” Ma said. “That’s really the low-hanging fruit right now. We know the people, and they trust Talesun.”
He said the company sold two major Chinese solar projects in November and December before the plant was completely up and running.
But it’s also looking internationally for growth opportunities, Ma said.
Talesun opened an office in the United States. There are 11 people—engineers, sales people and leaders—working at the headquarters in California.
“We also believe the U.S. should be one of the highest-demand markets in the world over the next few years,” Ma said.
Talesun’s competitiveness there will depend on trade commission investigations and determinations about whether or not to impose a tariff on solar panels imported from China after some in the U.S. lodged complaints that Chinese manufacturers are benefiting from unfair subsidies from the Chinese government.
“Everyone is talking about that,” he said.
If there are new tariffs, the company will have to decide if it will be able to compete in the U.S. market despite those disadvantages or if it will need to open a domestic plant. Ma said the U.S. market is likely to be significant enough that the company will find a way to do business here.
While the European markets are slowing, Ma said he’s hopeful that they will return.
“Power is very expensive there,” he said. “Grid parity is near, and they won’t need subsidies to make it affordable for long.”
The company has grown up quickly, developing in just about a year from concept to fully functional plant, Ma said.
Because it produces panels in high volumes and in an automated facility, it’s able to offer large price advantages, Ma said. The U.S. office is now working on developing relationships with solar installers.