Backsheet Market Shifts To Coating

Industry Is Moving Towards Coating Based Backsheets Due To Higher Prices Of PVDF While Jolywood Leads the Market Segment

Backsheet Market Shifts To Coating

  • In 2022, PVDF’s share dropped to 22% while double-sided coatings gained the most from this fall, capturing a 50% share of the market
  • Jolywood became the top backhseet supplier in the PV industry followed by Cybrid and Crown
  • Crown is promoting fluorine free BO backsheet, accounted for more than 80% of shipments in 2022
  • Lucky film claims 15% market share in 2021 and 2022 and also launched non-fluorine backsheet products including CPC, coextrusion backsheet and PPC structure
  • Coveme has been focussing on backsheets built with recycled PET (rPET) and high reflectivity backsheets as well as special coatings.

Solar backsheets are categorized according to the outer layer for the purpose of the TaiyangNews Market Survey on Backsheets and Encapsulation 2022-23. As for their market shares, the price of PVDF had started increasing already in 2021 that led to an increase in demand for coatings and PET based backsheets. While PVDF still retained its dominance that year, the fall that started then continued throughout 2022. According to our research – and as shown in the pie chart, in 2022, PVDF’s share dropped to 22% while double-sided coatings gained the most from this fall, capturing a 50% share of the market. The same high price that caused PVDF’s downfall also explains that of Tedlar’s, which saw its market share shrink to 8%. PET claimed 10%, which is also assigned to the “others” and includes several non-fluoropolymer structures including the PP. Thereason for the considerable increase in the others category is that one leading module maker seems to have switched from a fluoropolymer to PP-based backsheets.

New market leader: Jolywood is the new leader of the pack. It has overtaken Cybrid, which stood in our previous edition at the top in terms of solar backsheet shipments. (Source: TaiyangNews report; Photo credit: Jolywood, Cybrid)

PVDF price increases have even influenced who leads the market:

Since 2021, Jolywood is the top backsheet supplier, a title it won from Cybrid, which itself was the unprecedented market leader for 6 years since 2015. The humongous increase in the price of PVDF by 2 to 3 times meant a commensurate cost increase for Cybrid’s key product based on the KPf structure. Jolywood, on the other hand, has been mainly promoting its double-sided coatings based backsheet, which benefited majorly from the fall of PVDF backsheets. Jolywood shipped 163 million m2 of backsheets during 2021 for a market share of 24%. He further estimates that the total CPC-based backsheet shipments exceeded 55% in 2022, with Jolywood alone expected to have shipped 220 million m2 (see High Price Of PVDF Is The Hot Topic).Anticipating that the prices for PVDF would not reduce considerably in 2023, Jolywood’s marketing director Chad Yuan said that the leading module makers have confirmed CPC as the main backsheet structure. To support this, Jolywood has launched a 250 million m2 expansion plan, which is expected to reach a total production capacity of 400 to 450 million m2 (see Coatings And Non-Fluoro Are Gaining Traction).

Cybrid takes the second position in terms of shipments, at least in 2021. The backsheet maker has shipped 131 million m2, that is nearly the same as 2020. However, as mentioned above, KPf based on PVDF has been the main product of the company, but the backsheet maker has changed its strategy by adapting to the market conditions. According to Yang, Cybrid is now making 2 kinds of products. One is the so called fPf, which is nothing but CPC that now accounts for more than 50% of its production capacity. The other is a PPf structure, which again is a PPC configuration and costs the same as CPC. This is mainly aimed at markets such as Europe and India; in the latter case, the non-fluorine based variant circumvents the anti-dumping duties.

Crown takes the 3rd position among the companies that have provided shipment data, according to which the company supplied 90 million m2 of backsheets, or worth 18 GW in 2021, entitling it to a 15% market share. Crown is aggressively promoting its BO backsheet that is fluorine-free; to be specific, it is PET/PO or PET/PU. However, Crown emphasized that it mainly focuses on PET, which accounted for more than 80% of its 2022 shipments. The company has a production capacity of 300 million m2 that translates to 60 GW.

Lucky Film, while not providing shipment data, claims an estimated market share of around 15% in 2021 and 2022. The company is also an important laminator for DuPont’s Tedlar, thus the TPC is also one of the best-selling configurations of the company apart from CPC. At the same time, Lucky Film has also launched a variety of non-fluorine backsheet based products such as CPC, coextrusion backsheet and PPC structure.

Hangzhou First, the global market leader in the module encapsulation business, has not revealed its shipment data. Our research indicates that the company shipped around 70 million m2 of backsheets in 2021, or 14 GW. The company has an installed capacity of 170 million m2. Hangzhou First has also been a supporter of coatings based backsheets, which also accounts for a major chunk of its total shipments.

For Coveme, the pioneer in PET-based backsheets, certain markets have been tough due to the market’s price sensitivity, whereas other markets have recognized and rewarded the quality andsustainability of Coveme’s products, thus increasing the volumes and Coveme’s market shares, according to COO Monica Manara. The company shipped backsheets worth 6.57 GW in 2021 and reached the 7 GW level in 2022. The Italian company is focusing on 2 important technology streams – backsheets built with recycled PET (rPET), only one of its kind, and high reflectivity black backsheet. Coveme says it also sells standard black backsheet for residential applications. The company has also developed special coatings that make the polymer surface scratch and abrasion resistant, aimed at replacing the front glass with a polymer based front cover (see Pack Of Module Backsheet Innovations From Coveme).

For more details, download the TaiyangNews Market Survey on Backsheets and Encapsulation  2022-23 for free here.


About The Author

Shravan Chunduri

HEAD OF TECHNOLOGY Shravan is a name to reckon with in the solar industry. Having caught the solar bug very early in his career, he began his journey 20 years ago in research, followed by stints in solar manufacturing. He then moved on to write and eventually ventured into Consulting. At TaiyangNews, he is responsible for drafting the technology reports and articles that are regularly published in TaiyangNews, apart from hosting the Conferences and Webinars that TaiyangNews conducts. [email protected]

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