Solar fuse manufacturers raise output, product performance

Suppliers of solar fuses in China build up the line to benefit from the growing global and local PV industries and keep pace with competition.

January 24, 2017

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Suppliers of solar fuses in China build up the line to benefit from the growing global and local PV industries and keep pace with competition.

China makers of solar fuses are boosting turnout and working to enhance product features to take advantage of increasing requirement amid PV installed capacity expansion globally. For the majority, the line accounts for 10 to 30 percent of yield at present.

Most suppliers are aiming for at least 10 percent greater volume, spurred by a projected sales rise that can reach 15 percent in the months ahead. In 2016, they realized revenue growth surpassing 10 percent YoY.

Wenzhou Onkak Impex Co. Ltd, which increased its production by 10 percent in 2016, will target the same rate this year to meet the expected higher demand. Solar fuses represent less than 10 percent of the maker's total shipments, but in the next one or two years, the share will exceed 10 percent.

As for product objectives, manufacturers underscore better reliability and stability, and some have adopted certain materials to achieve them. Zhejiang Mingrong has released models with a pure-copper strip sealed in the fusion tube. The last is made from high-strength aluminum oxide and filled with chemically treated high-purity quartz sand as arc-extinguishing medium. The firm connection between the fuse body, contact cap and built-in insulation spacer ensures adaptability to various extreme circumstances. The fuses have 1,000VDC rated voltage, 2 to 30A rated current and 10kA breaking capacity at rated voltage. They conform to IEC 60269-6, GB/T 13429.6, CE, CQC and RoHS requirements.

For a greater number of local companies, the commonly used inputs are silver-copper alloy for the fuse links and high-strength ceramic for the fusion tubes.

Product initiatives also cover greater compliance with specific solar fuse standards such as UL 2579 and IEC 60269-6. Most China makers follow the latter while only some can match the first at present.

In the target PV market, the upbeat outlook stems from the increasing installed capacity worldwide. The industry reached a total 53GW in 2015 and 62.8GW in 2016, according to OFweek. This will rise further to 64.5, 73 and 79.7GW in 2017, 2018 and 2019. In China, the estimate in 2016 is as high as 30GW, thanks to government support.

There are more than 200 manufacturers of solar fuses in China. Over 80 percent of the companies are locally owned and export 30 to 80 percent of output to Europe, the US, East and South Asia, and the Middle East.

The rest of the pool consists of foreign businesses and includes a number of major industry players such as Amphenol.

More than 50 percent of the suppliers are based in Guangdong province, with most congregating in Dongguan and Shenzhen. The provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu are the other key manufacturing hubs for the line.

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