TRENDS - STRUCTURE AND TRACKER
Jayesh S Dhodapkar, Key Account Manager, Sapa Extrusion India Pvt Ltd
- What are the latest technology trends in PV Structures and Trackers Industry?
In today’s industry, a commercial or an industrial consumer of solar power expects the generation to be maximum with minimal to nil effect on the tariff. Keeping this basic motto in mind, all the structure manufacturers are working on reducing the weight of the structures, both on rooftops as well as ground mount without any compromise on the strength.
At Sapa, we are closely working with our partners “Mounting Systems Gmbh” in Germany to continuously innovate designs for rooftop structures that require additional tilt as well as structures that are flat mounted on metal sheds. Factors like structural stability and clearance from the metal shed for heat dissipation play a vital role. In addition to these factors, our structures factor in installation flexibility by offering mounting clamps suitable for any framed module.
Some of the structure manufacturers in Europe are developing FRP based structures which would be lighter than aluminium or steel, but will have cost implications.
- What are the current price trends that structures and trackers industry follow?
Prices of structures are directly affected by the metal price index London Metal Exchange. Currently, the prices of most of the metals like aluminium (Structures and module frames), iron/steel (Structures) and Copper (Cables) are at a 7 year high. We are expecting the prices to remain stable with minor fluctuations at least till the first half of 2018.
Modules being 60 % of the total solar project cost an additional safeguard duty (as applicable), would not only affect the project directly, but also the BoS suppliers like structure and cable manufacturers. Currently, structures account for about 10 % of the project cost (including installation) and is the third most costly item in the complete project. Developers and EPCs are expecting a price reduction of at least 15 % over the current prices in order to sustain the project execution. With the price in metal trending bullish, value engineering the structure design is a probable option.
- Since the projects are increasing in numbers, how has the demand outlook changed for the sector?
With an ambitious target of 40 GW on rooftop solar (by 2022) set by the government, day-by-day increasing number of EPCs, developers and OEMs are entering into the solar market. Given the number of projects going on simultaneously across different states for a single EPC as well, it is important for installers to complete the project quickly and move on to the next site. Supply chain of structures plays a huge role here as they need to be installed first, be it a ground mount or a rooftop solar project.
We at Sapa realised this need of the market well in advance and started regulating stocks of individual products, based on comprehensive analysis of previous data available. Based on the type of product, project capacity and the location of the project, the material can be supplied within a week of the order receipt. In addition to that, we have developed distributors across India, who can cater to local requirement in order to reduce the transit time and thereby support the project execution time.
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