Photovoltaic modules have become a commodity is a popular notion in the solar industry today. However, field tests indicate that not all modules are made equal: Given the recent price pressures in the solar industry, some module manufacturers have resorted to using low-quality materials to reduce costs, and those materials may degrade faster than expected. Therefore, while some solar materials are commodotized, such as polysilicon and ethylene vinyl acetate, there are a whole host of solar components that provide opportunities for differentiation and profitability. In this report, we present key innovation trends in high-performance encapsulants, backsheets, and metallization pastes based on their IP landscape, and analyze how these innovations enable profitability for materials suppliers and module manufacturers alike.
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