Analysts at Taiwan-based EnergyTrend and China’s PV Infolink have reported a further increase in demand for monocrystalline solar cells and modules in recent days. Their respective analyses on multi-crystalline products, however, do not match.
EnergyTrend has reported mixed developments in the global PV market in recent few days. For instance, polysilicon prices have declined, while those for wafers have been divergent.
For PV cells and modules, prices vary according to supply and demand in regional markets. Overall, it should be noted that high efficiency monocrystalline products continue to be very popular both in China and foreign markets.
As for polycrystalline modules, EnergyTrend sees an increased demand for decentralized PV projects in China. But it remains to be seen whether this could become a new driver for the technology, the analysts said.
In contrast, the most recent publication from competitor PV Infolink states that demand for multicrystalline products remains weak in all areas.
According to EnergyTrend and PV Infolink, weak demand has created new pressure on polysilicon producers. The price of foreign silicon, for example, followed the trend of Chinese products and continued to fall, according to the former. Further price reductions are to be expected if demand does not pick up. However, some polysilicon producers have already responded by adjusting their capacity or postponing the construction of new factories to slow down the fall in prices.
For wafers, opposing price developments have been observed. EnergyTrend writes that the price of monocrystalline wafers is still stable and could even increase with a growth in demand in the coming weeks. By contrast, a further drop in prices for multicrystalline wafers is to be expected, especially because the order backlogs of the biggest manufacturers are increasing.
It will take a while for the stocks to be reduced, EnergyTrend continued. The analysts quote prices for monocrystalline wafers outside of China at just over US$0.40 apiece. For monocrystalline wafers, prices dropped to between $0.27 and $0.28 apiece. Products made of black silicon, meanwhile, now cost $0.32 apiece.
PV Infolink reports similar developments and also expects prices for multicrystalline wafers to fall even further outside of China – if there is any demand. In the case of monocrystalline wafers, however, no significant price changes are to be expected in the short term.
As a result of the Chinese top runner program and orders from Turkey, demand for high-efficiency monocrystalline products has increased and, as a consequence, prices have risen, according to EnergyTrend analysts.
In the case of multicrystalline solar cells, increased interest from India has at least stabilized prices, even though overall demand remains at a low level. Domestic prices for high-efficiency solar cells manufactured in China increased slightly to between 1.12 and 1.18 yuan/watt.
For traditional multicrystalline solar cells, prices dropped to RMB 0.84-0.89 yuan per watt. The prices for multicrystalline solar cells outside of China continue to be between US$0.102 and $0.133 per watt. The price range of highly efficient monocrystalline solar cells sold outside of China has increased again, according to Energy Trend, having reached between $0.137 to $0.165 per watt.
PV Infolink similarly estimates the price development of multicrystalline and monocrystalline solar cells both inside and outside of China. The analysts believe that, given the lack of demand, prices for traditional multicrystalline solar cells will remain low, while only the leading, vertically integrated PV manufacturers will run at full capacity. For monocrystalline solar cells, both analysts expect new support from rising demand through China’s Top Runner program.
The price and market development of modules is comparable to that of cells, Energy Trend continues, with the conditions in domestic and foreign markets differingThe capacity utilization of Tier 1 manufacturers has increased again due to stable demand, it says. China Tier 2 and 3 manufacturers are also seeing growing demand from the Top Runner program, as well as local requests for decentralized equipment.
PV Infolink points out that since September, in addition to high-efficiency monocrystalline solar modules, there has also been an increasing demand for conventional PERC modules, which should further stabilize prices in the fourth quarter.
EnergyTrend saw a price increase for multi-crystalline modules (270-275 watts) to an average of RMB 1.82 yuan per watt. In contrast, the average price for high efficiency multicrystalline solar modules remained unchanged at RMB 1.87 yuan per watt. The price of monocrystalline modules has also risen to an average of RMB 1.89 yuan per watt, while the cost of high efficiency modules stabilized at RMB 2.13-2.15 yuan per watt.
Outside of China, however, the price of conventional multicrystalline solar modules has fallen to between $0.218 and $0.290 per watt, with an average of $0.22 per watt. Equivalent monocrystalline prices have fallen to an average of $0.25 cents per watt, while the average price of monocrystalline solar modules has risen to $0.278 per watt, with prices ranging from $0.265 to $0.455 per watt.