Silicone Sealant Contributes to the High-Quality Development of PV Industry

Highlights :

Leading Solar sealant manufacturer GUIBAO is expanding capacity and developing new products to meet the changing demands of the solar sector for high quality and environmentally friendly sealants. The firm has a presence in India, thanks to its relationships with multiple Indian module makers. Here, Wang Youzhi, President at GUIBAO, talks about the market and GUIBAO’s  expectations from India. 

Silicone Sealant Contributes to the High-Quality Development of PV Industry

Tell us about GUIBAO’s into the solar market for sealants.

PV Industry

Wang Youzhi

GUIBAO, a leading solar chemicals and equipment specialist entered the solar PV market in 2006, providing a series of complementary products for the PV industry (involving frame sealant, junction box potting sealant, BIPV structural sealant, silicon wafer cutting sealant, sealant rod, etc.).

How did the market respond to your entry in China?

GUIBAO had a strong reputation as a chemicals specialist, and our products were already well regarded in other sectors. With a portfolio built on high quality and large capacities, GUIBAO quickly built up a supplier relationship with leading players in the market like LONGi, CHNT, Jinko, and JA SOLAR, besides other strong domestic PV enterprises. With an annual silicone sealant production capacity of 250,000 tons GUIBAO built a reputation as a trusted supplier that could deliver quality, and on time. With booming demand for its sealant products a new production line of 20,000 tons of PV sealant is under way now. This line is expected to start production in mid-2023. Success in its home market China helped GUIBAO discover a ready global market too, with its PV Sealants exported to India, Turkey, the United States, and other countries now. This is because our Chinese customers built a strong global reputation in the solar sector.

How has your experience in India been so far?

India is a leading photovoltaic nation in the world and has always been recognized as one of the most significant markets in GUIBAO Overseas Section. Since GUIBAO entered India’s photovoltaic market vigorously in 2020, GUIBAO has rapidly established a good reputation with excellent product quality and a cost advantage, achieving cooperation with a lot of India’s top photovoltaic module manufacturers. It is a relationship we prize, and will continue to build on as the market expands.

Why do sealants matter so much in a solar module?

Sealants play a particularly critical role in ensuring the service life of solar photovoltaic modules meets its 25 years promise. With photovoltaic modules being applied in all kinds of terrain and environment today (high temperature and humidity, strong ultraviolet radiation, high and low temperature impacts, etc.), the relevant supporting materials are also required to have excellent aging resistance. Sealants play a particularly key role as they are used to bond , integrate and seal components of the module during manufacture. Excellent aging resistance of silicone sealants compared to other sealing materials ensures that the industry prefers it as a  component assembly material. Silicone sealants provide modules with long-term stability in terms of sealing performance, aging resistance, insulation performance, etc., all combining to ensure module makers meet their promise of a 25 year working life for the module.

Today, there are even cases where PV modules in good environments have delivered a service life of over 25 years with silicone sealant.

guibao solar sealants

What is the risk from using low quality sealants?

Using low-quality or non-compatible sealant in the long-term outdoor environment on the other hand can lead to unexpected setbacks for customers. These modules can be prone to poor adhesion, sealing aging and cracking, current leakage, etc., which ultimately leads to a significant reduction in the power generation efficiency of components and even PV modules failure. The risk of complete failure also goes up.

How is GUIBAO adapting to the continuous technology changes we are seeing in solar modules?

The continuous evolution being seen in solar cell and module manufacturing technology (crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, perovskite solar cells, thin-film solar cells, etc.), demands ever higher requirements from components like sealants as well. Higher capacity module and plant output also means that the cost of failure due to poor components is higher. That drives us to invest continuously in research and intense quality testing to ensure our products to meet or even exceed the demand of customers.

How do you see the market evolving in the coming years?

In the future, PV sealants will have to continue their own evolution towards higher environmental protection, fast curing speed, wide bonding adaptability, low water vapor transmission rate, etc. In the past decade, the domestic frame bonding sealant for photovoltaic modules (crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules) has mainly been one-component oxime type silicone sealant (curing speed is relatively fast), and the potting sealant for junction boxes has mainly been two-component alkoxy type silicone sealant.

As solar adoption has grown, the rapid development and competition in the silicone sealant industry has also followed with firms sensitive to impact on eventual module cost and environmental protection.

Thus an ever increasing number of module manufacturing enterprises have begun to prefer one or two components of alkoxy type silicone sealants used in frame sealing and bonding. Some companies have begun to use alkoxy type silicone sealant as the frame bonding sealant and export the module to European countries and the United States. Along with the development of N-type solar cells, perovskite solar cells, and thin-film solar cells, the butyl sealant with lower water vapor transmission rate has also been recognized by relevant enterprises as the potting material.

How is GUIBAO placed vis a vis industry demand going ahead?

GUIBAO, as a leading enterprise in the silicone sealant industry with over 25 years of experience in product development and technical reserves, is well placed to deliver on customer requirements in this dynamic industry. With some of the biggest names as our customers, we are also fortunate to get feedback that ensures we deliver products that the market needs. Be it the development of small-molecule anchoring agents, research on the curing mechanism and performance of sealants, and the accumulation of experimental data for application evaluation, GUIBAO can be trusted to be at the forefront of new development.

Where does GUIBAO stand in the overall sealant industry?

At present, China is the largest silicon producer and consumer in the world, thanks to its leadership in overall Solar sector. At GUIBAO, out of a total annual production capacity of 250,000 tons, photovoltaic sealant capacity is 55,000 tons, besides our upcoming production line with 20,000-ton capacity. That gives us a significant share out of the total industry capacity of 2 million tonnes.

According to market research reports, the global PV modules installation volume is expected to be about 205-250 GW (including 80–90 GW in China alone) in 2022, and In 2023, the global installed capacity of new photovoltaic modules is expected to exceed 300GW. Taking the calculation of 600 tons of silicone sealants for every 1 GW capacity, about 180,000 tons of silicone sealant will be needed in 2023 globally. With firms like GUIBAO and others, the silicone sealant market is assured of dependable supplies.

What aspect of module technology has been the biggest change for sealant manufacturers to manage?

With the market shifting towards large-size, high-power-output double glass modules like bifacials, higher performance requirements are put forward for sealant. The junction box requires a higher thermal conductivity to ensure a good temperature balance and timely heat dissipation. The large size of the modules means an improvement in quality and also requires more excellent bonding strength and retention rate. Of course, some enterprises will also design non-frame double glass modules, but in actual use, when the size increases, it is easy to cause deformation by external force that leads to breakage in the tempered glass, affecting efficiency negatively.

India is also pushing for domestic manufacturing for solar supply chain. Do you see an opportunity there?

With India increasing its local PV manufacturing capacity, there is a real opportunity for firms to work with GUIBAO, as GUIBAO has a subsidiary specializing in equipment manufacturing too. GUIBAO looks forward to working with firms in the Indian market for potential manufacturing partnerships, besides competing with local firms that venture into sealant manufacturing themselves, as it will hopefully help add depth and strengthen the market for quality products.

At present, GUIBAO’s series of products for photovoltaic solar energy industry have passed the main globally recognized quality certifications of UL, TUV, and RoHS.

There is a saying in China that neither gold nor silver prize is as valuable as the customer’s praise. To that end, GUIBAO’s focus on India is long term, to ensure the company is seen as a trusted partner that delivers on its promises and supports the growth of its customers.

How do you see the market in terms of price volatility? Considering the high level of price movements we saw in the past 2 years.

We have seen how the shortage in supply of silicon materials had a substantial impact on pricing changes in the solar energy market in 2022. In 2023, with fresh silicone materials capacities solving that issue, we believe the solar market is in for a period of price stability. Here’s hoping that more and more regions across the world can get the benefit of clean solar power accordingly.

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