DuPont Interview

The maturation of solar markets in China, India, and the U.S. is creating an increased demand for reliable and durable solar materials. DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions is packing its supply line to meet this rising demand, says Mr. Mark Ma, global marketing manager for DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions.

Mercom India spoke with Mr. Ma about these developments. The following is an excerpt from the conversation.

How is DuPont doing in terms of market share in India compared to its presence in other markets across the globe?

DuPont has a good presence in India’s solar market. We are the leading supplier of specialty materials to the solar industry such as silver pastes and backsheet materials.

The Indian market is emerging fast and now, as it stands on the verge of maturing, we are glad to see the focus is shifting towards quality products which is the right fit in DuPont materials proposition. We are confident about the market share growth as the India solar industry begins the mature growth phase.

Is the outlook for the Indian market changing?

Yes. In the past, the focus in India was more on volume and speed but now that outlook is changing. People are now focusing more on PV products and materials that have long-term durability and reliability.

What do you think has brought about this change?

In the past, due to the focus on speed and volume, many developers used low priced modules and other components, without considering their quality and reliability, that allowed them to secure low-cost projects at that time, but these products later turned faulty and various projects have been reported with issues of early failure that led to lower returns on investment.

Such instances have led to the realization that quality matters eventually. People now understand that utilizing quality solar products and components is complementary to volume and speed.

Do you think that quality-consciousness is a growing trend?

Yes, we have seen this trend and it is growing. That’s good news for everyone.

We have been in the Indian market for a few years now, and every year more customers are approaching us and appreciating our products and technical expertise. This shows that the industry is realizing the importance of quality and long-term reliability because when it comes to LCOE (Levelized Cost of Electricity), it’s self-explanatory. The initial cost differences are easily recoverable in the long term. Specifying proven materials can improve the durability and reliability of solar panels over their lifetime, and reduce the risk of premature power degradation or catastrophic panel failure that can diminish the internal rate of return (IRR), resulting in much lower returns on solar investments than expected.

What do you think of the anti-dumping case?

DuPont supports free and fair trade and a strong and sustainable solar industry that continues to create more skilled jobs.

Compared to China, how do you think India’s solar sector is growing?

The Indian solar sector is yet to reach its tipping point. A few years back, China wasn’t even doing 15 GW a year but now the country’s target is 45 GW a year. In the same way, once India starts averaging close to 10 GW a year, the PV sector will cross its tipping point (reaching certain scale of installation) and completely take off.

Investment in needed in setting up a robust supply chain which is essential to support India’s solar growth in a sustainable manner.

What’s at the heart of DuPont’s expansion plans?

DuPont is a science company. We have global R&D networks to develop advanced materials that help to achieve higher efficiency and more power output as well as in developing reliability testing methods and enhancement. We also have application labs close to the market that can provide immediate technical support.

DuPont has invested hundreds of millions of dollars across all businesses in PV, including $295 million for a multi-phased Tedlar® capacity expansion, now complete, that has more than doubled the capacity for Tedlar® PVF film.