DuPont Leader Addresses Global Solar Markets, Trends and Opportunities 

Dr. Lan Ma, global marketing director, DuPont Photovoltaic Fluoromaterials, was a panellist at the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) 10th Market Workshop, in Brussels, Belgium, on March 26.  The panel discussed global solar markets, trends and opportunities

Here are some of the highlights based on Dr. Ma’s remarks during the panel:

When asked about the growth of the solar market …

While growth in Europe has slowed, we view solar as a global business.  The global solar market demand grew approximately 15% in 2014, according to DuPont estimates, which represents significant growth considering the larger base as compared with previous years.  In 2015, we expect global installations to grow at about 20%, fueled by installations in China, Japan, the US and India as well as some high-potential emerging markets such as Turkey, Middle East and Africa.

It’s important to note here that to realize strong, continued growth globally, the solar industry needs to have a long-term focus and drive the fundamentals that are necessary for the long-term health of the industry. Specifically, improving the power output, reliability and return on investments (ROI) for solar energy systems is critical to long-term growth and sustainability for solar.  The development of advanced materials is critical as they can influence each of these key elements.  In short, materials matter.

When asked how the solar industry can build investor confidence …

To sustain investor confidence and ensure investment returns, the long-term reliability and durability of panels and systems are critical to mitigate risk.

DuPont, along with other solar industry leaders, has been working to help educate the industry – upstream and downstream - on the importance of ensuring the long term reliability and durability of solar panels and systems. 

DuPont develops and promotes proven materials such as Tedlar® polyvinyl fluoride film for backsheets that provide electrical and weathering protection for solar panels and Solamet® metallization pastes driving higher efficiency and power output.  We conduct extensive laboratory and field testing on materials performance to help ensure they will stand the test of time in real-life conditions. 

DuPont also supports industry efforts to develop standards at the national and international levels. We offer technical information and perspective of the supply chain regarding solar panel components, such as backsheets, and other specialty materials.

Industry standards should be representative of the service environment in terms of panel safety, performance and durability.  Test methods should be consistent across the industry to avoid confusion and duplicate efforts. 

Current industry standards are not predictive of long term performance in the service environment. Therefore, field performance remains the ultimate test for solar panels. 

Proven materials can best protect your investment for the expected lifetime of a solar energy system and minimize risk.

When asked about the impact on market development …

In the foreseeable future, we expect demand will become more diversified globally, while supply will continue to reside in Asia, particularly in China.  China is expected to continue leading in solar supply in the coming years due to its established scale, brands, market access, cost competitiveness, and well-established supply chain.

When asked about the probability of the photovoltaic market reaching between 50-60GW in the next two years …

China, Japan and the US combined represent over 50% of global installations, and we expect that this trend will continue in 2015 and 2016. At the same time, growth of emerging markets such as India and Latin American countries has started to outpace that of some of the developed countries, and the presence of these markets should be more noteworthy. For example, Latin America was reported to grow by 370% in 2014. In 2013, China installations jumped around 3-fold.  Based on the above, we believe the risk of not achieving 50-60GW in the next 2 years is low.