Polysilicon: Advancements in process technology are raising barriers, and N-type profitability exceeds expectations.
Regarding prices, this week’s average rates for N-type polysilicon and P-type polysilicon (monocrystalline dense) stand at 83,200 yuan/ton and 70,400 yuan/ton respectively. The price disparity between the two has recently grown more pronounced. In terms of costs, our projections suggest that the present production expenses for N-type polysilicon are around 3,000 yuan/ton higher than those for P-type.
Turning to profitability, the net gains per ton for N-type and P-type polysilicon clock in at 190,000 yuan/ton and 12,200 yuan/ton respectively. N-type exhibits a superiority of 6,000-7,000 yuan/ton over P-type, amounting to a gross profit margin difference of about 5-6%. Looking ahead, we anticipate that with the ongoing expansion of polysilicon production capacity, N-type polysilicon will emerge as a pivotal quality benchmark for polysilicon manufacturers. It will be crucial to monitor the proportions and costs of N-type polysilicon among new market entrants.
Wafers: Currently, the earnings from N-type and P-type wafers are comparable, but a divergence is anticipated in the future.
Regarding prices, let’s consider the example of 182mm wafers. This week, the cost of a 130μm N-type wafer and a 150μm P-type wafer stood at 3.24 and 3.08 yuan per piece respectively, indicating a steady recent price differential between the two variants. In terms of costs, our projections suggest that the present production cost of an N-type wafer surpasses that of a P-type wafer by 0.1 to 0.2 yuan per piece. When factoring in the power enhancement per wafer, the cost per watt for both wafer types is essentially equivalent.
In the realm of profitability, the net gains per watt for both N-type and P-type wafers fall within the range of 0.05 to 0.06 yuan per watt. Looking ahead, it is anticipated that the profitability of N-type wafers will ascend to a higher echelon.
Cell: Both N-type and P-type cell earnings are robust, with TOPCon cells exhibiting even higher profits.
In terms of pricing, the current week has seen the cost of TOPCon cells and PERC cells at 0.80 and 0.75 yuan per watt respectively. The recent price gap between N-type and P-type cells has diminished. Regarding costs, our projections indicate that the non-silicon production cost for TOPCon cells surpass those of PERC cells by about 0.03 to 0.05 yuan per watt. Factoring in the 0.01 yuan per watt lower wafer cost for TOPCon cells, the overall cost discrepancy between TOPCon and PERC cells is projected to be in the range of 0.02 to 0.04 yuan per watt.
In terms of profitability, the current net gains per watt for TOPCon cells and PERC cells stand at 0.13 and 0.12 yuan respectively. Looking ahead, we anticipate that as TOPCon production capacity rises, the market share of PERC cells will gradually decline, leading to a supply and demand scenario that is less favorable than that of TOPCon cells. Moreover, the possibility remains for an escalation in the premium associated with N-type cells. Concurrently, the non-silicon costs of TOPCon cells are poised to decrease further due to reduced silver consumption, efficiency improvements, and enhanced yields. This trend will uphold the positive profitability of N-type cells. In our projections for 2024, we expect that TOPCon cell profits will surpass those of PERC cells by around 0.05 yuan per watt.
Integration: The N-type module’s profitability is projected to surpass that of the P-type module by approximately 3 cents per watt.
Considering pricing, this week’s rates for TOPCon and PERC modules in the domestic market stood at 1.37 and 1.28 yuan per watt respectively, showcasing a relatively consistent price differential. Regarding costs, accounting for variations in auxiliary materials such as films and welding belts, along with the reduced cost per watt of auxiliary materials due to enhanced module power, we anticipate that the non-silicon expenses for TOPCon and PERC modules will be quite comparable. Taking into account polysilicon costs, non-silicon wafer, cell, and module costs, our estimation suggests that the integration costs for TOPCon and PERC are 1.00 yuan per watt and 0.96 yuan per watt respectively. Consequently, the integration cost for TOPCon exceeds that of PERC by about 0.04 yuan per watt. In terms of profitability, the net gains per watt for integrated TOPCon and PERC modules are 0.11 yuan and 0.08 yuan respectively. In the domestic market, these figures range around 0.06-0.07 yuan per watt for TOPCon and 0.04-0.05 yuan per watt for PERC. Moreover, in the European market, the net profitability per watt for TOPCon and PERC modules stands at 0.16-0.17 yuan per watt and 0.13-0.14 yuan per watt respectively. This analysis underscores an additional profit margin of approximately 0.03 yuan per watt for TOPCon integration.
Moving forward, the augmented profitability of N-type integration is foreseen to persist in tandem with the advancement of N-type cells. As a result, an overcapacity scenario looms over the industry, setting the tone for the photovoltaic sector over the next couple of years. However, as technological evolution endures, the quality of production capacity is poised to diverge. Ultimately, production capacity characterized by high efficiency and low costs will play a pivotal role in yielding surplus gains. This outlook fuels our optimism concerning the medium-term profitability of industry-leading enterprises.