Massive oversupply and downward price pressure have reportedly created the misconception that the solar industry suffered from industry-wide commoditization. But not all solar modules are created equal, and profit margins can rise to double-digits for select enabling materials—even as overall materials sales volumes grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2% through 2018, according to “Photovoltaic Materials Opportunities Beyond Commoditization,” a recent report from Lux Research.
While materials such as frontsheet glass, polysilicon and ethylene vinyl acetate have the lowest profit margins, certain gases, metals, polymers, and process chemicals and solvents maintain double-digit margins. In fact, since mid-2009, solar materials have seen steadily increasing profit margins, with the exception of glass and polysilicon.
“While certain solar materials are commodities, many others still offer opportunity for differentiation and high margins through added performance,” said Fatima Toor, Lux Research analyst and the lead author of the report. “Innovations in high-performance encapsulants, backsheets and metallization pastes enable higher profitability by allowing module makers to improve efficiency and command higher prices.”
For more information, visit www.luxresearchinc.com.