Chinese backsheet producers increasing global share

Chinese backsheet producers have increased their share of the global market in recent years to nearly a quarter.

Three Chinese companies, Taiflex, Cybrid and Jolywood, now account for almost 25% of the global backsheet market and had more than 9 GW in total shipments last year, according to a new report by Shanghai-based ASIACHEM Consulting.

The energy sector consultancy noted that in 2010, Chinese produced backsheets only accounted for 10% of the global market and predicts that by the end of 2015, Chinese backsheets sales will exceed those of international competitors in view of increasing demand in the domestic market and their continuously growing share around the world.

Fluoro-based backsheet to regain market leadership

ASIACHEM also said it expects fluoro backsheets to regain a major share of the global market. According to the research group, the backsheet market was mainly based on fluoro backsheets prior to 2008, accounting for a 90% share. That changed in 2010 as demand exceeded market supply and PV module manufactures began using low-price non-fluoro backsheets. Since 2011, the fluoro backsheet market share has increased year by year, reaching 55%. However, ASIACHEM estimates that by the end of 2015, fluoro backsheet will again exceed a 90% global market share.

ASIACHEM added that localization of fluoride materials was key to reducing backsheet costs. The outermost layer of backsheets are made of fluoride materials, the intermediate layer is the PET basement layer, while the innermost is the binder layer. The consultancy pointed out that polyethylene terephthalate (PET) localization is relatively mature, but that fluoride materials are still largely imported, adding that fluoride materials have the greatest potential for localized production in the future – a key factor in reducing the overall costs of backsheets.

PV backsheet and materials localization trends will be the focus of the inaugural China Solar Cell Backsheet Conference taking place June 24-25 in Suzhou, China. Representatives from leading Chinese producers Jolyood, Hangzhou First, Greenflon and other manufacturers will offer presentations of their products.