Interview: Coveme CEO talks backsheets and Indian market opportunities

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What technological advances has Coveme recently been focusing on in the backsheet industry?

Gian Paolo Fedrigo: as a leading backsheet manufacturer oriented to new R&D solutions, Coveme has been the first to produce backsheets for 1,500V high system voltage modules. These modules, engineered for both utility-scale and commercial applications, permit to achieve 3-4% reduction in balance of system costs. In 2015 Coveme completed the world’s first supply of backsheet for a groundbreaking 1.5 GW project of 1,500VDC modules, which is currently being installed in US. The desire to improve this winning solution has encouraged Coveme to develop new solutions, driving the 1500VDC backsheets to their third generation.

dyMat H2DPYE and dyMat MHDPYE L are in compliance with PDT 1500 VDC in AIR. The third generation of backsheets for high voltage insulation is in compliance with PDT 1,500 VDC in OIL.

A new product range, for 1,000VDC and 1,500VDC, is compliant with the new regulations under discussion by the IEC: both products are available with different customized reflectivity and in a low shrinkage version.

What other areas of innovation is Coveme exploring?

We are constrantly striving to face and overcome new challenges, and have been investigation a series of innovative products that are in the process of development. These include Superblack backsheets, which help reduce the energy loss in the module by more than 50% compared to a standard black backsheet.

We are also working on transparent backsheets for BIPV and for PV bifacial cells application for 1,500 VDC systems, including a special hybrid solution for bifacial modules that will increase the panel output. This product can also be applied to glass/glass solutions. Coveme has also developed backcontact new products for shingling and glass/glass solutions.

How does Coveme currently view the opportunities in the Indian solar market?

The Indian market is very vibrant. I was at the REI exhibition last year, and coming back in 2016 I see tremendous growth. There is hype, but it is hype that is backed up with plenty of players increasing their capacity in the Indian market. In the meantime, new companies are starting operations in the country, and we see plenty of good players here, which makes the market interesting to us.

Another point to remember about the Indian market is that there is a growing international presence. India is becoming very attractive for companies coming from all over the world. What is also interesting to observe is the heavy presence of Chinese companies here. The Indian market is very attractive for big Chinese companies, and this shows to me that there is a confidence that India will continue to enjoy growth.

Of course, with China recently having cut its FIT, this has meant India has become even more attractive for Chinese companies.

Manufacturing in India is a key topic right now. And given that India is a cost-conscious market and Coveme is known for high quality and innovation, how do you marry these two mindsets?

The Indian market is very cost competitive, yes. We try to not compromise on quality and performance, but try to be as close as possible to the committed price requirements of the market. We are in the Indian market because we are always aware of such pressures, and are able to tune our prices accordingly.

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