Backplane: a bright light in the photovoltaic industry

In 2011, under the background of the downgrading of PV subsidies by European countries and the difficulty of loaning photovoltaic power plant operators due to the outbreak of the European debt crisis, the demand for new PV installations in Europe has declined; at the same time, domestic production capacity expanded due to the high growth of the industry in 2010. Released, phased overcapacity of solar cells and components began to appear, which led to a sharp drop in the prices of major upstream and downstream solar cell products since the second quarter of 2011, and the industry entered an adjustment phase.

However, in the market filled with pessimism, we have also seen a series of positive information on China’s “solar power generation target” during the 12th Five-Year Plan, which is expected to increase to 15GW and the domestic polysilicon industry will usher in integration. With the continuous decline in the cost of photovoltaic power generation, the era of parity-priced Internet access that the entire photovoltaic industry is waiting for is also getting closer and closer. Moreover, the falling prices of solar cells and modules will increase the investment return rate of photovoltaic power plants, which will bring benefits to solar power plant operators, and will in turn push up the demand for solar cells and components. Therefore, the PV market in 2012 will not be as pessimistic as the market generally expects. Perhaps the PV industry in 2012 may face a new development opportunity in the midst of difficulties.

As backplanes, which are an important part of solar modules, will usher in major developments in 2012.

Dual opportunities for growth in demand and import substitution Solar battery backsheets, like lithium battery separators, are high-tech, high-value-added products in the plastic film industry, with high technical and capital barriers. The manufacture of such products requires not only the advanced and reliable production equipment, but more importantly, the formulation of raw materials and additives and the scientific adjustment of process parameters in order to produce qualified products. At present, the service life of commercial crystalline silicon solar battery modules is 25 years. Therefore, in the harsh environment of the wild, the back sheet for protecting solar cells should also have the performance to maintain normal working conditions within 25 years. The backsheets with excellent water vapor barrier properties, oxygen barrier properties, dimensional stability, insulation properties, corrosion resistance, aging resistance, solar reflectance, infrared emissivity, and high and low temperature resistance have a long life and cost for solar cells. Significance. Backplanes with poor performance may be prone to delamination, cracking, blistering, yellowing, and other undesirable phenomena, which may cause the battery sheet to slip off, reduce the effective output power of the battery, etc. Severely, it may also cause the module to burn and cause fire. Although many backsheet manufacturers claim that their product quality can meet the 25-year service life requirements, many have not yet been confirmed in actual use. In the next few years, backplane products that have achieved good results in practical applications will gain greater trust from component manufacturers, while backplane manufacturers with poor quality will be difficult to survive in the industry competition.

Compared with ordinary film products, solar backplanes are more expensive and have stronger bargaining power with downstream companies. When the price of raw materials fell, the price of solar backplanes fell less, and when the prices of raw materials rose, the solar backplanes rose more sharply, and the gross profit margin could be maintained at about 30%. According to statistics, in early 2011, the cost of solar battery backplanes in all components accounted for approximately 2.75%. With the continuous decline in the price of solar cells since the second quarter of 2011, the cost share of solar cells in the entire assembly has significantly decreased. This has also led to an increase in the cost share of other components. According to the current market data, the backplane has accounted for about 8% of the cost of the entire battery module.

At present, the domestic backboard industry is still in the initial stage of development. Its development and production enterprises are mostly located in the Yangtze River Delta region. Like many industries developed in China, solar photovoltaic industry has a very high dependence on foreign countries in the early stages of development. Among the various main materials that make up photovoltaic modules, crystalline silicon materials, glass, solar cells, and plastic films have all come through. Depend on imports to achieve localization. For example, EVA film encapsulated in solar photovoltaic modules was dominated by foreign products five years ago. Now, with the advancement of domestic adhesive manufacturers, domestic companies have occupied 40% of the market share. Due to the high technical level of backplane production and the related raw materials, which have long been restricted by the patented technologies of foreign fluorochemical giants, their localization level is still low. According to statistics, foreign backboard products account for about 90% of the market share of China's backboard industry. Although a small number of domestic manufacturers have started to develop and sell backboard products, the number is far from meeting market demand.

Individual domestic back-sheet companies have already prepared for competition with imported products and have gradually achieved the strength of import substitution.

From the price point of view, the price of domestic backplanes is significantly lower than that of imported backplanes. At present, the price of domestically produced dual-fluorine backsheet is about 60~70 yuan/m2, the price of single-fluorine backsheet is about 40~55 yuan/m2, and the price of non-fluorinated backsheet is 30 yuan/m2 or less. The price of imported backboard products is about 25%~30% higher than that of similar products.

From the quality point of view, for the quality and performance of the backplane, many domestic back-sheet companies have obtained TÃœV certification, and they have not lost to imported products in terms of performance indicators. However, there are also some companies that have less technical strength than foreign companies, and domestic backplanes use less experience than imported products.

From the perspective of capital cost, domestic products have a longer account period. Overseas backplane products enter the Chinese market through agents, and given the consideration of capital cost, agents cannot give component manufacturers a very long credit period. In the case of tight funding, component manufacturers are likely to choose domestic backplanes with longer billing periods.

With the gradual improvement of the quality of domestic backsheets and the maintenance of price advantages, from the standpoint of reducing the manufacturing cost per unit of solar cell module power generation, localization of backplane products is a necessary path for the development of China's photovoltaic industry, and this process It is expected to be realized quickly.

Therefore, in the future, there will be dual investment opportunities in the domestic solar battery backplane industry in terms of growth in demand and import substitution. It can be said that the back sheet industry will be a bright spot in the photovoltaic industry in the near future and in the future.

In 2015, the market scale reached 5.167 billion yuan. According to the EPIA data, the cumulative installed capacity of the global photovoltaic industry has reached 39.5 GW by 2010. During the period from 2000 to 2010, the cumulative installed capacity of global solar photovoltaic power generation has increased by as much as 27 times. However, although the growth rate of the solar photovoltaic power generation market is relatively fast, its proportion in the entire power generation industry is still very low. Taking China as an example, according to the statistics of the National Energy Administration, by the end of 2010, the cumulative installed capacity of China's power generation equipment was 962.19 GW, of which the proportion of photovoltaic power generation was only about 0.09%. This shows that there is a huge space for the development of the photovoltaic power generation industry in the future.

According to JRC's forecast, by 2030, renewable energy will account for more than 30% of the total energy mix, and solar photovoltaic power generation will reach over 10% of the world's total power supply; renewable energy will account for 50 percent of total energy consumption in 2040. More than %, solar photovoltaic power generation will account for more than 20% of the total power; by the end of the 21st century, renewable energy will account for more than 80% of the energy structure, and solar photovoltaic power generation accounts for more than 60%, which has an important strategic position. In the future, solar power will not only replace part of conventional energy sources, but will also become the main source of energy supply in the world.

With the promulgation of a series of policies and regulations such as China's "Renewable Energy Medium and Long Term Development Plan" and "New Energy Industry Revitalization Plan", especially the launch of photovoltaic benchmarking on-grid price, it is expected to drive the domestic photovoltaic industry to replicate in January 2006. The trial of energy power generation price and cost sharing management is a miracle after the introduction of domestic wind power installations. It is expected that the domestic PV market will enter a new wave of installed capacity in the next few years. Judging from the actual situation, China's newly installed capacity in 2011 will far exceed the value predicted by EPIA, and it is expected to reach a record-breaking 1.8 GW.

In recent years, the output of solar cells in China has increased significantly, and the ratio of output to total world production has also been rising. According to the statistics of EPIA, China's solar cell output has exceeded 50% of the world's total production in 2010, and it can be said to occupy "half of the country", and this figure was less than 15% in 2006.

With the continuous increase in installed capacity of photovoltaic power generation and solar cell output at home and abroad, the demand for backplanes as component packaging materials has also continued to rise. However, the backsheets needed for the production of solar cells in China are heavily dependent on imports. It can be said that China's solar battery backplane industry has been seriously lagging behind the development of other solar module industries. According to the current photoelectric conversion efficiency of solar cells, with a power of 145 watts per square meter, a 1 megawatt module requires a backplane of 75,600 square meters. With the ever-increasing photoelectric conversion efficiency of solar cells in the future, this data will gradually decrease.

Solar cells are divided into crystalline silicon cells and thin-film batteries. Among them, thin-film batteries use glass as the backplate, so the proportion of crystalline silicon cells and thin-film batteries in the photovoltaic industry will have a great impact on the market size of the backplane. Although the proportion of thin-film batteries in solar cells has risen in recent years, due to the low photoelectric conversion efficiency and high attenuation rate of thin-film batteries, and the cost advantage of thin-film batteries, the price of crystalline silicon cells has gradually decreased. In the background, the situation will be weakened. By 2015, among the global new installed capacity, the market share of crystalline silicon battery and thin film battery will still largely maintain the current 75%: 25% market structure.

At present, the conversion efficiency of crystalline silicon solar cell modules produced in China is about 16.5%. With the progress in production technology and technology, this figure is expected to reach 17.5% in 2015.

By 2015, with an average conversion efficiency of 17.5% for crystalline silicon cells, the 1 MW module needs a backplane area of ​​0.729 million square meters.

In recent years, the proportion of domestic solar cell production in global production has gradually increased. With the implementation of major manufacturers' expansion plans, it is expected that by 2015 domestic production of crystalline silicon solar cells will account for 60% of the world's crystalline silicon solar cell production.

Large-scale production of domestic backplanes will inevitably lead to a drop in prices. However, in the next 2 to 3 years, photovoltaic generation will also lead to greater demand for components. By 2015, the average price of backplanes will be 45 yuan per square meter.

In 2015, the scale of domestic solar battery backplane industry was 5.167 billion yuan. Among them, the fluorine material market size is about 2.842 billion yuan, the PET film market size is about 1.292 billion yuan, and the EVA film market is about 1.033 billion yuan.

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