STR Holdings gaining traction with new and lower cost encapsulants

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

Specialist encapsulant supplier STR Holdings continued to see sales slump in the first quarter of 2013, despite many module manufacturers raising production utilization rates on improved demand.

The company reported first quarter 2013 net sales of just US$11.2 million, down 64% year-over-year and 30% sequentially. STR had 2012 annual sales of US$95.3 million, down massively from US$232.4 million in 2011.

According to the STR, the year-over-year decline reflects approximately 57% lower material volumes and 15% lower ASPs. The company noted that material volume decreased approximately 26%, while ASP declined 5%.

Implied shipments for the first quarter of 2013 equated to 340MW, down from approximately 450MW in the fourth quarter of 2012 and down from 600MW in the third quarter of 2012.

STR has not only lost significant market share over the past few years as module manufacturers shifted to using lower cost Polyolefin (POE) encapsulant materials over traditionally used ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) based encapsulants but lost its single largest customer, First Solar at the end of last year. Another major customer, bankrupt Suntech Wuxi, subsidiary of Suntech Power Holdings drastically cut purchases from STR in 2012.

Based on weaker sales, production utilization rates of around 20%, STR reported a negative first quarter gross margin of 6.3%, though significantly better that its fourth quarter 2012 gross margin of negative 37.5%, due to restructuring and job losses. 

Although the company is not providing quarterly or annual financial guidance due to its weak position and continued volatility within the sector, STR expects sales to decline further in 2013 from last year.

However, the first quarter could prove to have been the foundation for the future recovery of the company as management noted in a conference call to discuss results last week that new product roll-outs were gaining acceptance by customers, citing new customer wins in the quarter.

Robert Yorgensen, CEO and president said, “We've got 4 new customer wins in China and I think 1 or more in Europe, at least a customer or 2 converted to the new product. They may not be a new customer to the company, but they're new with that product. The ones in China are actually 4 new customers.”

Management noted that its next-generation EVA product offering was responsible for winning new Chinese customers. The company previously revealed that the new EVA formulations, created after increasing R&D expenditure from US$1.8 million in 2010 to US$4.4 million in 2012 at a newly created R&D centre, are claimed to offer improved UV light transmission, better volume resistivity and enhanced curing properties for lower cycle-times as well as PID resistance, which has become a key requirement for modules in the last 12-months.

Management noted that it recognized revenue for its new EVA product for the first time during the quarter, while another European-based customer had placed initial production scale quantities with the firm. The company also said that in April, trial production orders from 2 Chinese module manufacturers were signed, representing new accounts for STR, which were estimated to potentially account for US$10 million in future sales.  Sales from the 4 new Chinese customers were said to provide a sales opportunity of around US$18 million.

STR also said that it had accelerated the commercialization of its lower-cost POE encapsulant with production trial quantities starting to ship in the quarter.

23 February 2022
Held annually since 2016, the Energy Storage Summit Europe is the place to be for senior stakeholders in the European storage industry. Designed to accelerate deployment of storage, we examine evolving chemistries, business models, project design, revenue stacks and use cases for storage. The 2022 edition will include exclusive content around longer duration solutions, energy strategies for wide-scale deployment of EVs and "EnTech", the event which sits at the intersection of digitisation, decentralisation and decarbonation of the power system. Come to meet TSOs, DSOs, Utilities, Developers, Investors and Lenders and leave with new contacts, partners and a wealth of information.
7 March 2022
Take your chance to join the most powerful platform in the MENA region. Middle East Energy (MEE), Intersolar, and ees, the leading energy exhibitions are joining hands to co-deliver an outstanding renewables and energy storage event at Middle East Energy 2021. Renewables and energy storage at MEE is the largest gathering of solar and renewable energy industry professionals in the Middle East & Africa, offering the most effective trade focused platform to international manufacturers and distributors looking to meet regional buyers.
8 March 2022
As Solar Finance & Investment enters its ninth year, we sit on the cusp of a new power market with solar at its heart. The 2022 edition of the event will build on our years of expertise and relationships to bring investors and lenders together with top developers. Connect with leaders in the field and use exclusive insights to drive investment and development decisions for the future. Meet new and existing project partners at the largest gathering of European solar investors and lenders.
23 March 2022
When it comes to storage, the US market exceeded a gigawatt of advanced energy storage installations (weighted towards lithium ion) at 1.46 GW, more than the previous six years in total! An exponential growth rate could see the market hit 7.5 GW p.a. by 2025. The summit will provide a wealth of content around this vital piece in the US power puzzle, with sessions dedicated to explore how companies are making money from batteries, the latest chemistries and their applications as they apply to different use-cases. We ask how investors can match ESG criteria to batteries and we will bring case studies of successful deployment and project execution onto the stage to examine how you can ensure your own projects are successful.
29 March 2022
Now in its 10th sell-out year, Large Scale Solar returns to Lisbon in 2022. We are excited to gather together face-to-face with the European solar industry as we provide unique and exclusive access to a powerful selection of the market's key stakeholders. Join this elite summit to find out how the market is maturing, which new markets are becoming more exciting, how technology is evolving and who's driving the market forward into the 2020s. Always senior, packed with developers, EPCs, utilities and investors this is the event for companies serious about European solar PV.
7 April 2022
Solarex Istanbul, Turkey’s first and unique exhibition on solar energy, provides a huge opportunity to Turkey on the way to being a solar energy hub. Solarex Istanbul will take place on 7-9 April 2022 for the 14th time. It will be a commercial platform to have the latest technologies and combination of new products from all around the world. It takes place annually at Istanbul Expo Center, Turkey. It is also called the most important platform for manufacturers, suppliers and dealers of the solar industry in Eurasia.

Read Next

January 27, 2022
Renewables owner and operator Brookfield Renewable has tripled its US development pipeline to 31GW through the US$650 million acquisition of clean power developer Urban Grid.
January 27, 2022
Hecate Energy’s first stage application for a 500MW solar PV plant in the state of New York has been accepted by the newly formed New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES).
January 27, 2022
Italian asset manager Green Arrow Capital (GAC) has signed a framework agreement with Spanish solar company Progressum Energy Developments (PED) to acquire 508MW of ready-to-build solar PV projects in Spain in a deal worth over €400 million (US$446 million).
January 27, 2022
Tesla’s solar installations jumped 68% in 2021 to 345MW despite a slight dip in additions year-on-year during the fourth quarter.
January 27, 2022
Major European solar developers have called on the European Union (EU) to develop a PV supply chain strategy to avoid cost increases and disruption to projects, with the group calling for 20GW of manufacturing capacity by 2030.
PV Tech Premium
January 26, 2022
s solar finds itself deployed in further and more far flung climes, it is also having to operate in increasingly harsher climates. In this article, VDE Renewables assesses how such climates affect PV performance and what must be taken into consideration when formulating O&M strategies.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 8, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal
Solar Media Events
April 25, 2022
Berlin, Germany