The photovoltaic industry has been developing rapidly with the support of policies. In 2021, the output growth rate of photovoltaic profiles was as high as 41%, and the demand for aluminum used in photovoltaics entered a new growth period.
Aluminum profile in the field of photovoltaics can be mainly used as a frame for photovoltaic modules and a bracket for distributAluminum profile in the field of photovoltaics can be mainly used as a frame for photovoltaic modules and a bracket for distributed photovoltaic power stations. Frames are used to fix and seal solar cell modules, which can protect the glass edge, strengthen the sealing performance of photovoltaic modules, improve the overall mechanical strength of photovoltaic modules, and facilitate the transportation and installation of photovoltaic modules. At present, aluminum profiles are widely used.
Support is a support structure designed for placing, installing and fixing solar panels in photovoltaic power generation system. The material is generally aluminum alloy or hot dip galvanized carbon steel. At present, the centralized power station is mainly steel support, while the distributed power station is mainly aluminum support.
The aluminum frame is the auxiliary material for the packaging of photovoltaic modules, accounting for about 9% of the module cost.
Photovoltaic modules are composed of battery cells, solder bands, junction boxes, glass, back panels, EVA, aluminum frames and other materials. The core component of the battery cells accounts for the largest proportion in the cost structure of photovoltaic modules, accounting for 61.2% in 2021; the packaging auxiliary material aluminum frames account for the second largest proportion in the cost, accounting for 9.0% of the cost.
Since aluminum frame accounts for a large proportion in the cost of photovoltaic modules, and the price of silicon material has risen sharply before, module manufacturers hope to reduce costs in the frame link, so the aluminum frame industry has experienced a round of fierce competition, and the product processing fee has reached the low point. The low processing fee and gross profit margin level make the industry relatively less attractive, and the new enterprises entering the industry are limited. The industry pattern is stable, and the scale and cost advantages of the head enterprises can be highlighted, and the industry concentration will be further improved.
In addition, the standard of In addition, the standard of aluminum profile is divided into ordinary grade, high precision grade and ultra-high precision grade. Aluminum for construction is ordinary grade, while aluminum for photovoltaic is ultra-high precision grade. The transformation from architectural profile requires the purchase of new extrusion and oxidation equipment, which has certain financial barriers.
The aluminum price surge has driven the heat of other photovoltaic frame varieties.
Due to the sharp fluctuation of aluminum prices in 2022, the domestic spot price of aluminum ingot was once as high as 23.99 thousand yuan/ton. For photovoltaic module enterprises, the cost of aluminum frame increased significantly, so the popularity of alternatives such as steel frame and buckle frame increased.
At present, the market share of these photovoltaic frames is still very low, the market share of steel frame is less than 5%, and the market share of buckle frame is negligible.
Aluminum frame has a strong irreplaceability.
1) Performance. After years of use, aluminum and other auxiliary materials such as glass have good compatibility, which can maintain synchronous deformation with glass when carrying snow and wind. However, steel frame not only has low machining precision, but also has a large difference in elastic modulus with glass, which is easy to cause local stress concentration under severe weather, resulting in component explosion.
2) service life, photovoltaic cells installed in outdoor or field areas, throughout the year with the natural weather test, the service life should reach 25-30 years, the life of aluminum frame can meet the requirements, while the steel frame in the surface galvanized treatment, if not reprocessed, life less than 15 years, the buckle frame is only about 10 years of life.
3) cost of use, although the initial investment of aluminum frame is high, but the maintenance cost is low, and the recovery efficiency of aluminum can reach 95%, the aluminum in the decommissioned photovoltaic modules can completely realize closed-loop recycling; while the recovery efficiency of steel frame is 10% after 10-15 years, and the recovery efficiency of buckle frame is about 20%. In general, the use cost of aluminum frame is very low.
In addition, as aluminum prices stabilize in 2023, the popularity of alternatives to aluminum frames will decline. The photovoltaic industry is developing rapidly with policy support and its own technology.
Driven by the gradual improvement of laws, regulations and policies in various countries, photovoltaic power generation has entered a stage of large-scale development. Traditional photovoltaic power generation markets in China, the United States, Europe and other regions continue to maintain rapid growth, and emerging photovoltaic power generation markets in Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa and other regions have also started rapidly.
According to CPIA data, it is expected that the newly installed capacity of global photovoltaic in 2022-2025 will be 251/347/451/586GW respectively, with a CAGR of 32.71%. The rapid development of the photovoltaic industry has brought huge development space to the photovoltaic aluminum frame industry.
In 2023, the demand for photovoltaic aluminum frame is expected to reach 2.02 million tons, corresponding to a market space of 46.8 billion yuan.
In order to estimate the global photovoltaic aluminum frame market space, we make assumptions on the capacity-to-capacity ratio, the amount of aluminum frame used per GW installed, and the market price of aluminum frame.
1) Assumption of aluminum frame consumption per GW: The consumption of aluminum frame corresponding to a single GW installed photovoltaic system has been decreasing in recent years. According to Antaike data, the consumption of a single GW installed system in 2019-2020 was 6500 tons. With the update of silicon chip size from 166 to 182 to 210, the consumption of aluminum frame has decreased.
2) Compatibility assumption: Compatibility ratio refers to the ratio of nominal power of components in photovoltaic power stations to rated output power of inverters. In 2020 and before, the design capacity ratio of China's photovoltaic system was 1:1. The Capacity Ratio restriction was officially lifted in the "Performance Specification for Photovoltaic Power Generation System" issued by the National Energy Administration at the end of 2020.
3) Aluminum frame price assumption: the pricing model of photovoltaic aluminum frame is aluminum price + processing fee, assuming that the processing fee is 5500 yuan/ton in 2023-2025. Based on the above three assumptions, we believe that the global demand for aluminum frames in 2023-2025 is 202/263/32.33 million tons, and the corresponding market space is 468/609/74.6 billion yuan.