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China's photovoltaic industry dominates the world
Looking back on more than 20 years of wind and rain, China's photovoltaic industry from small to large, from weak to strong. China's photovoltaic industry is booming at a rate visible to the naked eye. Europe and the U.S. again want to to the year as the neck of the Chinese photovoltaic industry, is no longer possible.
Unlike the dominant market position in other segments of the PV industry, the competitiveness of Chinese companies in the tracking bracket segment has always been relatively weak, in the global market brand competition, showing a "strong outside and weak inside" pattern. Looking back at the past 10 years, there are only 2 domestic tracking stent companies among the top 10 global shipments, and the combined market share of the two is only 12%. How to enhance the internationalization of local tracking enterprises, how to enhance the technical level and comprehensive strength of tracking enterprises, and reduce the comprehensive cost of the system has become a hot issue in the industry.
The rapid development of tracking bracket business, help power cost down
PV bracket can be mainly divided into fixed bracket and tracking bracket, fixed bracket mainly includes the best tilt angle fixed type and fixed adjustable type. Tracking brackets mainly include flat single-axis, inclined single-axis and dual-axis brackets, which can make PV modules follow the sun's position throughout the day, reduce the angle of incidence of sunlight and improve the absorption rate of solar energy by PV modules.
The specific selection of tracking bracket is closely related to the project location dimension and topography, and is more often used in ground-based power plants, because distributed PV project sites have limited space, general lighting conditions and other problems, and the economy of installing tracking brackets is not high.
Among tracking brackets, single-axis tracking PV brackets are widely used because of their high cost performance. Generally, it can bring 15%-20% increase in power generation for PV power plants, and in some low-latitude areas with abundant light resources, it can even bring more than 20% increase in power generation.
Although the use of tracking bracket will increase the initial investment and operation and maintenance costs, but because of the obvious power generation gain, can achieve lower cost of electricity. According to Bloomberg New Energy, in the first half of 2021, the global average cost of electricity for PV power plant projects with tracking bracket system is about $38/MWh, which is significantly lower than fixed bracket PV projects.
Global tracking bracket product demand continues to rise
As one of the main markets of the PV industry, with the growth of PV demand and the improvement of the cost performance of tracking brackets, global tracking bracket shipments show rapid growth.
According to Bloomberg New Energy statistics, the global tracking bracket shipments 47.5GW in 2020, the market size of about 16.2 billion U.S. dollars, of which the U.S. market demand 23.4GW, the market size of about 9.99 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 50%. In addition, the demand for tracking brackets in Latin America, Spain, Australia, India, the Middle East and other regions with relatively good lighting conditions is also considerable.
"Compared with the average year-on-year growth in 2017-2019, the market will grow at 26.2% in 2020," said Chen Rongfeng, technical director of Guangdong Powerway New Energy Co. The global market size is expected to reach $190 million in 2021 and $54 billion by 2028, with a compound The compound annual growth rate is 16%-18% during the forecast period.
The tracking bracket market is almost monopolized by foreign companies will continue in the short term. In the 2012-2020 global ranking of the top 10 tracking companies in terms of shipments, CITIC Bo and Trina Solar are the only two domestic tracking bracket companies in the top 10 global shipments. 2021 in the first half of the domestic market slowdown, the main focus of Chinese tracking companies is still overseas, accounting for about 85% of the overall business volume.
Recognize the current situation to find the pain points, is the first step to "break the game". Some industry sources pointed out that the current constraints on the development of local tracking enterprises are mainly the following problems: First, the domestic PV power plant tracking system application ratio is not high, in 2020 the global PV power generation of 120GW, tracking applications 44GW, the application ratio of more than 30%, while the domestic PV power generation of more than 40GW, tracking applications only about 10%, the proportion is low. Second, the overall scale and technical strength of the domestic tracking industry chain enterprises are weak. Third, the international market development capacity needs to be strengthened.
Although the overseas market has great potential, there are still challenges in the process of development and construction in some areas. For example, Asia-Pacific, Central and Eastern European countries, large capital investment and the lack of infrastructure construction is the main resistance that these regional markets will encounter, the lack of awareness of the advantages of the tracker system, but also to restrain the development of the local market.
Ground power plant competition intensifies, the value of tracking bracket highlights
As competition for ground-mounted PV plants intensifies and yields decline, developers are looking for projects that achieve higher ROI. In this context, the value of tracking brackets to reduce power costs and increase yields is highlighted.
Many large ground station projects have adopted tracking bracket solutions, indicating that tracking brackets in have been verified and recognized, and these large-scale applications are expected to drive the rapid promotion of tracking brackets in China.
Since 2021, affected by the epidemic and component prices, the industry's ground power station projects have not started at a high rate, while raw material prices such as silicon and steel have risen, leading to increased costs. With the carbon neutral action plan on the ground, at this stage, the energy low-carbon transformation trend, represented by photovoltaic green energy development by has a strong certainty, photovoltaic industry has a bright future.
At present, with the major domestic silicon enterprises to expand production, silicon prices are expected to fall back in 2022, the cost of photovoltaic systems will return to the downward channel.
As the tracking bracket continues technical iteration, its economy and reliability and other aspects of performance continue to improve, the advantages of the fixed bracket is expected to further highlight, thus promoting the tracking bracket penetration rate. We estimate that the global demand for tracking stents is expected to reach 34% in the next three years, and the compound growth rate of tracking stent demand outside the United States is expected to reach 45%.
Deepen the technology and cultivate internal strength
Compared with fixed brackets, tracking brackets are more technically difficult and require more in-depth understanding of R&D, marketing and sales, and ground power plant projects.
With the rapid development of the domestic and global PV market in recent years, local tracking companies have been growing gradually, and listed companies such as Qingyuan Technology and CITIC Bo have emerged. By the end of 2020, CITIC Bo has a cumulative installation capacity of nearly 32GW and has successfully installed nearly 1,100 projects in nearly 40 national markets around the world.
However, there is still a big gap compared with the top leading companies in the world. Stability, cost and power generation gain have been the core issues affecting the development of tracking brackets, and are also important concerns of downstream customers.
Yang Ying, chief engineer of research and development of CITIC Bo New Energy Technology Co., Ltd, pointed out that the competition of tracking system products nowadays mainly lies in three points:
Firstly, how can the transmission and control components guarantee stability and longevity under special and severe conditions? In general, it is the combination of perfect external technical conditions input and components and parts selection, together with comprehensive testing and verification and supply chain management.
Second, under the condition of meeting the design requirements, the most important part of cost reduction is the processing process cost reduction. Processing technology, according to the standardization of product process cost in order: welding > stamping > cold bending. In order to reduce the proportion of welded parts in the structural parts, it is necessary to replace the stamping molding process with the cold-forming molding process and the stamping molding process with the welding molding process.
Most of the original tracker structure for large angle large wind protection plus shock absorber, with the wind tunnel technology is becoming more and more mature, basically it is difficult to make substantial optimization on the original design scheme. The use of multi-point drive can improve the critical wind speed, reduce torque, and achieve small angle large wind protection, which has now become the industry consensus on cost optimization.
Under the market trend of using high-power bifacial modules, PV tracking technology can also effectively improve the comprehensive income of power plants, which has now become the ace choice to reduce the LCOE of power plants worldwide. The tracker is optimized by structure to reduce civil construction and construction costs and maximize the backside power generation efficiency of bifacial modules. Using intelligent algorithms and combining with smart products, the tracking strategy is optimized to enhance maximum power generation. "The CITIC Bo AI control algorithm can increase power generation by up to 7%." Yang Ying said
In addition, talking about the impact of dust on photovoltaic modules, Yang Ying said "affected by location, in arid and semi-arid environments, in the form of airborne pollution, the tilt angle of the smaller modules, the most serious pollution. In such cases, if components are not cleaned regularly, dirt can accumulate, which can lead to a 25% yield loss in a month." As a result, the importance of smart cleaning equipment has become increasingly important, and continuously keeping module surfaces tidy can counteract the impact of the environment on module power production. Yang Ying said that integrated intelligent cleaning robots are being increasingly favored by power plant investors because of their economy, convenience and flexibility.
Proactive international integration, ready for the "long run"
The most important thing for Chinese tracking enterprises' products to go out is to have complete procedures for certification. At present, Chinese enterprises should take the initiative to adapt to the European and American system standards as soon as possible.
"Overseas owners pay more attention to the control of details, each country and the owners have their own requirements", Li Jia, director of market development of Guangdong Powerway New Energy Co., Ltd. gave advice, Chinese enterprises need to carefully study and digest the product standards and technical specifications of the European and American markets, on this basis to provide better support and customized, personalized services for owners.
The industry should not be vicious competition, the use of price war to hurt people hurt themselves. Companies should not lose credibility and give up product quality in order to take the project, should hold the bottom line, and should be more calm in the market downturn, bide their time and be ready for the "long run".
In addition, experts also called for the leading enterprises in the field of tracking should be closely integrated with domestic private enterprises, work together, take the lead in the mission and responsibility of "going to sea", and further strengthen exchanges and learning within the industry to achieve information sharing, experience sharing, and improve the technical strength of local tracking enterprises.
Article source: Energy News Network, Ping An Securities
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