Trina Solar panels combine price with efficiency. Should you buy Trina for your home? Read our complete report to learn more.
Trina Solar is a Chinese solar panel supplier that has scaled to become one of the largest suppliers in the world with a reputation to match. As one of the oldest solar panel manufacturers and one of the most respected Chinese brands, the sales network extends across the globe, and customers from Austria to Australia have no problem finding and installing Trina panels.
Even if you know only one thing about Trina Solar modules and panels, you know these products continue to break records across the industry. It’s broken 18 solar output and efficiency records across the past twenty years alone, and there’s no sign of slowing down.
Trina Solar offers a considerable number of panels across multiple sectors and has secured its place as one of the largest manufacturers in China and the world. Are Trina Solar products right for your home? Read our full review to find out.
What Are Trina Solar Panels?
Trina Solar produces products for the residential, commercial, and utility sectors. Its product line across each market features a broad range of batteries and modules that include both standard p-type mono- and multi-crystalline cells as well as the latest technologies including half-cell, dual glass, bifacial, and PERC.
Overall, Trina Solar, like many Chinese companies, focuses on marrying performance and value. These solar panels are for those who want to cover their energy bills but don’t consider themselves heavily invested in storing or selling energy.
Trina offers a vast variety of solar modules across its three product categories, so it’s hard to review just one product. Instead, we’ll follow the TrinaHome solar panel path to help you understand what you get when you invest in Trina Solar.
TrinaHome solar panels are an ‘all-in-one’ solar panel solution for homeowners who believe solar is the way forward but who don’t have the time or funds to set up a complicated solar system.
Homeowners can choose from three different standard configurations: 3kW, 5kW, and 10kW.
Visit the TrinaHome website, and you’ll find a rough estimate of what size you’ll need. Here’s what TrinaHome recommends for various sizes of roofs across a sliding scale:
The 3kW system includes 12 Trina 60 cells modules as well as everything you need to set up the system:
Like the 3kW product, those who buy the 5kW panels receive the complete system including:
With the 10kW system, you’ll receive:
What You Get with TrinaHome
TrinaHome’s solar system includes:
In addition to all the essential hardware components, Trina also provides:
Trina is also proud to provide things like a wide sales network coverage and comprehensive after-sales service so that finding TrinaHome panels is as simple as possible.
TrinaHome makes installation easy by combining an easy to install design with professional installation.
Solar panel manufacturers produce a warranty between 10 and 25 years. Trina Solar offers customers a 10-year defect warranty on their solar panels.
Who Is Trina Solar?
Trina Solar is a PV product producer founded in China in 1997. The company was one of the first environmental enterprises in China and is now a global leader in both solar technology and solar manufacturing.
Over the past two decades, Trina Solar grew to add over 15,000 employees, 1,300 patents, and ship over 32GW of cumulative shipments.
In addition to its shooting star like growth, Trina Solar has also broken global records. In 2014, the company broke the world record for solar cell efficiency seven times. Since its inception, the team has smashed 18 world records for solar cell efficiency as well as module power.
You can buy Trina Solar products in more than 100 countries across the globe. Trina Solar also boasts a global footprint with offices in:
Recognition of the Trina Brand
The Trina Solar brand is well recognized around the world by various press and industry awards. Some of the international attention received in past years includes:
Why Are Trina Solar Panels Unique?
One of the things that separate Trina from other competition within the economy market is it focuses on paving the way for new technology. Trina won’t be selling the same solar panels in five years. Its products don’t compete with the ultra-powerful panels from SunPower or LG, but they can install premium features.
At present, the product roadmap is ready for Interdigitated Back Contact (IBC) battery cells. These cells are an improvement because they feature multiple busbars at the back of the cell and can extend efficiency by 23.3 percent. Standard solar cells place ribbon busbars on the front where they are exposed. Visible busbars are problematic because the cell falls partially in the shade.
Although you already find multi-busbar technology in high-end products like LG, albeit as a premium feature even here, Trina remains at the forefront within its category. Trina Solar leads the way among Chinese manufacturers and other SMSL members. Their work drives down the price of the technology without diluting the efficiency or performance of the cells.
MBB and IBC products require a special order, but the company’s work in the sector is promising.
Pricing on Trina products varies wildly depending on the panels and packages you buy. Speak to a dealer to learn more about pricing and offers available for these products.
Keep in mind that your county or state may offer substantial rebates for solar panel installation that may dramatically alter the price of the panels.
What Professionals Say
When professionals put Trina Solar panels to the test, they find that efficiency and performance scores continue to stand up. In the PV Module Reliability Scorecard report produced by DNV GL, a German-based lab that provides an annual testing report.
DNV GL’s tests consistently rank Trina’s solar panels as some of the best among the top 20 leading brands. Referring to Trina Solar as a top performer, in this case, doesn’t mean the company is in the top spot or even among highest ranking. Instead, testing shows a distinct lack of failures or severe degradation across the range of products.
DNV GL’s stamp of approval speaks volumes because it is an independent testing organization that is well-regarded both by the industry manufacturers, researchers, and regulators.
Some quality issues have appeared over the years. Quality issues are almost inherent because Trina produces solar panels on a colossal scale as one of China’s largest providers. Every once in a while, a batch appears with the same quality or performance issue.
For example, the Honey panels first appeared with quirks that needed fixing, but Trina Solar invested time into the product, and they now test well.
Reviewers believe that in the context of solar panel manufacturing, the biggest tell isn’t how the product first appears but how the manufacturer works to fix the problem. When Trina experiences quality concerns, it works on the issues and provides support to dealers, installers, and customers.
One issue that appears lies in Trina’s warranty. Trina boasts of a one-stop-shop warranty that prevents giving customers the run-around. In theory, if you have a problem with a Trina product, you can go straight to Trina.
Some report that the way Trina deals with warranty claims could stand to improve. Reviews of the warranty process are both positive and negative. One suggestion is to extend the length of the warranty to go beyond the standard 15-year warranty offered by other Chinese manufacturers and make them more competitive.
How Trina Solar Panels Compare
Trina Solar panels are a mid-range product that put an emphasis on efficiency but are devoid of the high-end features that make other brands much more expensive. Some of the new technology is available as an add-on, but the standard products miss out.
We thought we would compare Chinese giant Trina Solar with the U.S.’s SunPower.
Trina vs. SunPower
SunPower spends its time and resources on creating residential panels, and its product classifications are slimmer than Trina’s as a result. All SunPower panels are mono-crystalline without exception, which deviates from Trina’s multi-crystalline modules.
The mono vs. multi-crystalline difference makes the most material difference here. Multi- and polycrystalline modules use lower silicon purity in the panels, which results in lower efficiency and lower-space efficiency. You’ll need more multi-crystalline panels to do the same job as one mono-crystalline panel.
Keep in mind that Trina tends to promote its multi-crystalline range, but it does offer mono-crystalline.
You’ll need fewer SunPower panels, but even still, they might be more expensive than the Trina panels.
SunPower also offers a watt range that is slightly higher. You can buy SunPower modules between 240 W, and 345 W. Trina starts at 240 W, but it only extends to 305 W.
The weight varies significantly between the two brands:
Some buyers may find that their roofs can’t handle the weight of the heavier Trina multi-crystalline panels. Remember that the weight doesn’t only include the panels but also mounting racks and the rest of the essential hardware.
Roofs can handle at least 20 pounds per square foot, but damaged or older roofs may find the panels to be too much.
Finally, Trina’s warranty is much shorter than SunPower’s. SunPower offers a 25-year power and product limited warranty. Trina comes up short with only ten years for product and 25 years for power. As mentioned by professional reviewers, warranty continues to be one of Trina’s weaknesses.
Otherwise, the construction of the panels offers some of the same features. Both feature an anodized aluminum alloy frame and handle 5400 pa snow loads and wind speeds.
- Designed and made by SunPower with Maxeon high efficiency solar cells
- FREE SHIPPING within the U.S.A.
- Robust, Durable & Weather Resistant
What We Think
If you had to make a choice that balanced budget concerns with efficiency, it would be hard to go wrong with Trina. Not only is Trina itself a well-run and sustainable enterprise, but it’s products consistently score well with independent studies.
We also like that you can buy Trina solar panels today or ten years from now, and you can be sure that you’re investing in a company that in turn re-invests in improving technology for its products.
Its commitment to adding premium features to its products by making them less expensive is admirable. We know that solar is essential, but premium features remain out of the budgets of many potential buyers.
Trina could improve the warranty and simplify the product choice, but with the steady hand of a local dealer and installer, you’re bound to find a product that suits your energy needs.