PV ribbon demand enters high growth period, product technology iteration is underway

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1. PV ribbon is an important part of PV module

PV ribbon is also known as tinned copper tape or tinned copper tape. It is an important part of the PV module and is used for the connection in the PV cell package. AIt leads the electrical energy converted from light energy on the silicon wafer to the electrical device. It plays an important role in conducting and gathering electricity to enhance the output voltage and power of the PV module. The photovoltaic cells connected by the photovoltaic welding tape are encapsulated in EVA film, photovoltaic glass, backsheet, bezel, and other materials to form photovoltaic modules, which are directly applied to the construction of photovoltaic power generation systems.

The quality of PV ribbon is related to the transmission efficiency and service life of PV module, and the performance indexes of PV ribbon such as appearance size, mechanical properties, surface structure, resistivity, etc. are the factors affecting the efficiency of PV power generation. PV cell fragmentation rate and long-term reliability and durability of PV modules are important factors. High quality and high technical level PV ribbon not only can significantly improve the power generation efficiency. And also can reduce the rate of PV cell fragmentation, to ensure the long-term stability of the PV module work. This is an important way for downstream photovoltaic power generation enterprises to achieve cost reduction and efficiency.

2. Industry concentration continues to improve, and the pattern of competitive development to the good

PV ribbon enterprises are developing rapidly in the background of high boom of PV industry, and the degree of marketization is very sufficient. However, there are fewer enterprises with independent R&D and production capacity. Due to the higher capital and technical requirements, as well as the advantages of large-scale production. Small enterprises gradually exit the market. PV ribbon manufacturing enterprises with outstanding R&D strength, advanced production technology, and strong production capacity will further increase their market share in the future, and the competition pattern will be positive.

3. Demand side into high growth, PV ribbon market space is vast

With the policy support and with the promotion of industrial development, solar photovoltaic and wind power as the representative of renewable energy generation costs gradually declined. In turn, the process of “grid parity” will be effectively promoted. The photovoltaic industry has entered a new phase of healthy and orderly, sustainable development. We expect that from 2021 to 2025 the global PV field’s newly installed capacity CAGR is 26.84%. It will drive the PV ribbon demand high growth.

4. Industry driven by cost reduction and efficiency, PV ribbon technology iteration is underway

PV ribbon is the mainstream solution for cell connection. At present, the mainstream PERC cell modules are mainly connected to the cells through PV ribbon. The development direction of future modules mainly includes TOPCon module, heterojunction module, stacked tile module, MWT module, etc. From the viewpoint of the cell connection method, the connection method of the stacked tile module and MWT module is less dependent on PV ribbon. However, due to the instability of research and high investment in equipment innovation, it is difficult to completely replace the PV ribbon connection. PV ribbon has lower cost, high welding reliability, and good electrical conductivity, and still has a strong competitive edge.

Although the module technology continues to iterate. However, it is expected that PV ribbon is still the mainstream solution for future cell connections in 2022-2030. The innovation of cell multi-grid, no main grid, and other technologies. The PV ribbon technology is developing in the direction of MBB ribbon, SMBB ribbon, shaped ribbon, black busbar ribbon, and higher precision ribbon.

In SMBB, the amount of tin has been reduced and the amount of copper has been increased. And the finer PV ribbon brings less silver paste usage and lower cost per watt. In addition, the EVA film covered by SMBB is thinner. The overall cost reduction brings more gross margin to manufacturers and is expected to become the mainstream interconnect ribbon type in 2023.

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