PV market demand plunged rapidly as expected as it entered in the third quarter, driving significant price decline across the PV supply chain. Prices of solar cells and wafer have reached new low for consecutive weeks. Consequently, Taiwanese manufacturers can only reduce their utilization rates as a response to the situation.
According to Taiwan's United Daily News, utilization rates of Gintech Energy Corp., Motech Industries Inc., Neo Solar Power Corp. (NSP) have been lower than 50%. Some manufacturers were even rumored to see a less-than-30% utilization rate. The only exceptions were TSEC and a few others whose utilization rates exceeded 70%.
The PV industry is anticipating market warming-up in the mainland China and international markets to upswing and spur price hikes. However, based on EnergyTrend's analysis, Q3's inventories have accumulated at higher levels. The priority in October will be consuming inventories. Then prices might be sparked and grow.
Wafer manufacturers suffered downfall in sales
Taiwanese firm Green Energy Technology Inc. (GET) announced its August financial report. Its revenue accounted for NT$645 million, down 46% MoM and down 50% YoY. Nonetheless, GET's accumulated revenues in the first eight months attained NT$1.9 billion, up 20% YoY.
GET only accepted a select group of orders, in order to ease the low-price impact. Nonetheless, orders received and shipment scale diminished all together, so its revenues slid. GET expressed, currently it mainly focuses on selling products to long-term customers. GET believed that solar industry's periodic fluctuation is normal. GET will continue to research and develop highly-effective technologies and promote customer strategic alliance, in order to venture into distinguished high-end markets and create a more stable and profitable business model.
Sino-American Silicon Products Inc.’s (SAS’s) August consolidated sales were NT $2.282 billion, down 13.38% MoM and down 6.53% YoY. This has set a second lowest single month record of this year. Its first eight months' accumulated revenues reached NT $19.558 billion, slightly up 4.05% YoY. SAS also had selectively picked out orders, so its Aug. revenues dropped. SAS stated, soft market demand caused unideal prices. Recently, solar-grade wafer capacity utilization rates have gone down to the level of 60~70%. And in September, the utilization rates will depend on the following si-wafer quote prices in Sep.
Another wafer manufacturer, Danen Technology, described that its revenue in August declined 42.65% MoM and 32.98% YoY to NT $86.5 million. This figure was a record low of a single month over the past 39 months. Danen's first eight-month consolidated sales totaled NT $1.156 billion, up 13.56% YoY. Danen not only continued selectively choosing orders, but also improved its technologies and equipment during the off-season time period.
Cell companies were hurt severely
EnergyTrend's price survey found that the standard cell's average selling price in Taiwan has slumped from US $0.26/W in early July to about US$0.205 in the recent, and The price downtrend has been unlikely to halt in Sepember. Many Taiwanese solar companies chose to reduce utilization rates or encourage employees to take a vacation or they shall sell products under negative profits.
The cell manufacturer Solartech Energy Corp.'s sales in August receded 12.34% MoM to NT $582 million, representing a 45.3% YoY decline. This figure set a lowest point for the past 17 months. However, due to the strong market demand in first half of 2016, Solartech's first eight months accumulated revenues saw a NT $7.43 billion, up 21.01% NT $6.14 billion during the same period in 2015.
TSEC Corporation also could not resist the spiraling downtrend. Its net revenues in August moved down 6.85% MoM to NT$577 million, which broke a 14-month-old record low.
Conductive paste manufacturer Giga Solar Materials heralded its August sales to be NT$955 million, down 28.5% MoM and down 35.5% YoY. This number has been the first time to go below NT$1 billion since March 2015. Giga Solar pointed out two reasons for falling revenues. First, the stagnating market demand forced cell companies to reduce production as well as procurement volume to conductive pastes. Next, there were new competitors joining the market from China and Taiwan, affecting the amount of orders that Giga Solar received.
(Written by Rhea Tsao, chief editor of EnergyTrend. Translated by Janet Chen, translator at TrendForce Corp.)