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Strong R&D Capability and Stable Finance Shape Coveme’s Leading Position in Japan

published: 2014-04-11 11:40

As the Chinese government announced a series of polices supporting the PV development, PV demand in China has become strong in 2014, which in turn boosts the PV demand in the world. The PV market recovery in the world has thus led to intense competition within the PV industry. Most of the manufacturers in the PV supply chain have started to work on their expansion plans. EnergyTrend has an exclusive interview with Coveme, a leading polyester film producer, to talk about their developing strategies and market outlook in 2014.

Coveme’s polyester film can be applied on many industrial applications, such as PV modules, electrical insulation, and so on. The company’s headquarter was first built in 1996 in Gorizia, Italy. They built the second production site in 2011 in Zhangjiagang, China. Like most of the manufacturers within the PV supply chain, Coveme, is also planning to expand their capacities. However, the company is still accessing various solutions to respond to the rapid growth in the Asian markets.

Recently, two products of Coveme - dyMat PYE 3000 and dyMat PYE SPV were awarded JET certifications and were presented at the Tokyo PV EXPO. When being asked about how Coveme took a firm stand in the Japanese PV market, they mentioned two characteristics in regards to the Japanese PV market. “There are two peculiarities about the Japanese PV market that have to be evaluated from foreign companies – the request for highly customized high-tech products and the request for cost efficiency,” said Mr. Fabio Manicanti, Coveme’s VP of Sales in Asia.

Regarding the first characteristic, it’s rare for Japanese customers to ask for “off-the-shelf” products, which shows the importance of suppliers’ R&D department to develop highly customized high-tech products. Therefore, strong product portfolio differentiation complying with high quality standards is needed as a potential supplier of a Japanese customer, according to Coveme. Regarding the second point, since Japanese customers have become more sensitive towards the price, companies should come up with a highly competitive cost structure when offering products.

Coveme believes they can succeed in this highly demanding market because they have both the R&D capability and the financial stability to meet the requests of Japanese customers. In other words, Coveme not only has a R&D department that is committed to develop highly customized products, but also can handle increased cost pressure of the PV market in Japan and the rest of the world. Last but not least, Coveme’s two products which were awarded JET certifications truly helped them to get a foothold in the Japanese PV market.

dyMat PYE 3000(left) & dyMat PYE SPV(right)

When being asked about the difference between DyMat and EBFoil, Coveme indicated that DyMat is a type of Coveme’s backsheet products, which is a high-performance polyester film that used to protect the back of solar components; EBFoil is an innovative product, aiming to complete the automated process for producing high-efficiency PV modules. The technology allows backsheet to expand its functionalities and become a back contact carry on the cell interconnection. It’s believed the new technology will soon be adopted by top Chinese PV manufacturers.

As for TPE products, Coveme said TPE product price is around $4.3/m². All TPE products that are available in the market have high-quality Tedlar outer layer, which is provided by DuPont. Other inner layers and auxiliary material can also satisfy suppliers’ needs. Hence, Coveme can take advantage of their plentiful experiences to build high-performance TPE and meet market’s expectation.

For Coveme’s future development, they will still mainly focus on backsheet as they continue to develop new generations of backsheet in order to achieve cost minimization. Through researching into the PV market, Coveme is hoping to grow faster. Meanwhile, they have begun to invest in new technologies, such as EBFoil and others. After all, Coveme is positive about the momentum in the PV market and they believe that the increased demand will bring good news to relevant suppliers. However, it will bring shock to small-scale suppliers and suppliers with little development capability or no actual factories because they can get very few financial resources support in Asia. Although Coveme has been developing in a fast-pace, they aim to grow further in both China and Asia.

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