The photovoltaic industry has developed rapidly with the support of policies. Photovoltaic profile production increased by as much as 41% in 2021. The demand for photovoltaic aluminum has entered a new round of growth. In 2023, the demand for photovoltaic aluminum frames is expected to reach 2.02 million tons, corresponding to a market space of 46.8 billion.
Aluminum profiles can mainly be used as photovoltaic module frames and distributed power station supports. The frame is used for fixing and sealing the solar cell module, and the bracket is used for placing, installing, and fixing the solar panel. Photovoltaic modules comprise cells, ribbons, junction boxes, glass, backplanes, EVA, aluminum frames, and other materials. Since the aluminum frame accounts for a large proportion of the cost of photovoltaic modules, and the price of silicon materials 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. The relatively low processing fee and gross profit margin make the industry unattractive. The number of new companies entering the industry is limited. The scale and cost advantages of leading companies are highlighted. The industry concentration will further increase.
Aluminum profile standards are divided into standard, high-precision, and ultra-high-precision. Aluminum for construction is standard grade, and aluminum for photovoltaic use is ultra-high-precision grade. The transformation from architectural profiles requires the purchase of new extrusion and oxidation equipment, and certain financial barriers.
Due to the sharp fluctuations in aluminum prices in 2022, the spot price of domestic aluminum ingots was once as high as 23,900 yuan/ton. For photovoltaic module companies, the cost of aluminum frames has risen sharply, so the popularity of alternatives, such as steel and snap frames, has risen. Currently, the market share of these types of photovoltaic frames is still very low. The market share of steel frames is less than 5%, and that of snap frames is negligible.
The aluminum frame is highly irreplaceable.
1. Use performance: Aluminum is compatible with other auxiliary materials, such as glass, and can keep synchronous deformation with glass when bearing wind and snow.
2. Service life: Photovoltaic cells are installed outdoors or in wild areas and have been tested by natural weather for many years. The service life should reach 25-30 years, and that of the aluminum frame can meet the requirements.
3. Cost of use: Although the initial investment of the aluminum frame is high, the maintenance cost is low. The recycling efficiency of aluminum can reach 95%, and the aluminum in the decommissioned photovoltaic modules can completely achieve closed-loop recycling.
In addition, as aluminum prices stabilize in 2023, the enthusiasm for aluminum frame alternatives will decrease. Driven by the gradual improvement of laws, regulations, and policies in various countries, photovoltaic power generation has entered the stage of large-scale development in an all-around way. Traditional photovoltaic power generation markets in China, the United States, and Europe continue to grow rapidly. Emerging markets for photovoltaic power generation in Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa have also started rapidly.
According to CPIA data, it is estimated that the newly installed global photovoltaic capacity will be 251/347/451/586GW in 2022-2025, with a CAGR of 32.71%. The rapid development of the photovoltaic industry has brought huge development space to the photovoltaic aluminum frame industry.