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Solar manufacturer Trina to sell electricity under IOT push

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Image: Trina Solar.

Trina Solar, one of the world’s largest solar panel manufacturers, is to start selling electricity under the banner of a new energy Internet of Things push.

During an event in Changzhou, China last week Trina unveiled a new umbrella brand – TrinaIOT – which is to house a raft of new data and cloud-based services encompassing generation, storage, distribution and the sale of power.

But perhaps most interesting is Trina’s ambition to actively sell electricity, which would see the upstream manufacturer venture into more vertically-integrated activities.

Specific details on the venture are scant, however the company’s chief executive Jifan Gao said at an event to mark the manufacturer's 20th anniversary that Trina’s first stage was to make solar more affordable but its new era was about smart generation and “transforming our energy behaviour”.

Also announced was a six-pronged cloud business dubbed Trina Aurora, which will see cloud-based systems established for solar, storage, charging, O&M, energy efficiency and, most pertinently, electricity sales.

Trina is to work with a number of different partners on the new venture including IT giants IBM and Accenture, and power electronics firms Huawei and Siemens.

Trina will not be the first tech company or retailer to consider branching out into the sale of electricity, with the likes of Amazon, Google, Apple and IKEA all rumoured to be at least placing utility-styled business models up for consideration.

At 2016’s Clean Energy Live show, Co-Op Energy boss Ramsey Dunning said there was a “very, very serious possibility” that a big name from the tech world would enter the utility space within the next five years.

This story first appeared on sister publication PV Tech.

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