Solar Industry Signaled a Mixed Message in Early June; Spot Price Reached New Low but Likely to Rebound in 2H11

published: 2011-06-16 10:57 | editor: | category: Price Trend

According to the latest survey by EnergyTrend, PV spot prices have reached new low at the Intersolar Europe 2011. Though the price of polysilicon remained at $50/kg at the exhibit, it dropped below $50/kg concurrently in China. The Si wafer price has fallen below $2.0/piece while the solar cell price has decreased to around $0.7/Watt. Moreover, the module price has gone down to below $1.2/Watt which indicated the inventory problem still existed. On the other hand, EnergyTrend also conducted a survey on PV manufacturers’ capacity utilization, and found that a number of manufacturers’ capacity utilization has risen and they take a positive attitude toward the market trend of 2H11. Therefore, EnergyTrend believes that the market demand might show a mild recovery, but top-tier manufacturers are in a better position to receive most orders while second-tier manufacturers still require more endeavor to compete with top-tier players.

According to EnergyTrend's survey, the lowest price of polysilicon has remained over $50/kg, but the average has decreased by 5.19%, to $52.28/kg. Although the price stayed at $50/kg during Intersolar Europe, but it dropped below $50/kg concurrently in China. In addition, Chinese polysilicon makers’ capacity expansion plans are still in progress. Hence, EnergyTrend believes that it is likely for the price to reach $45/kg this year. In terms of Si-wafer, price pressure continued to disturb manufacturers and the average price of multi-Si wafer remained around $2.2/piece. The price of multi-Si wafer decreased by 3.1% to $2.189/piece from last week. Since the demand for mono-Si wafer has mildly recovered, the price decreased merely by 0.08% to $2.60/Watt. In terms of solar cells, the lowest surveyed spot price has fallen to $0.72/Watt, and the average has dropped by 5.5% to $0.824/Watt. Moreover, the average price of module has consistently declined by 2.77% to $1.298/Watt. The lowest price has come to $1.25/Watt, and some manufacturers even offered $1.2/Watt to speed up their inventory clearance. As a result, it is believed that the module price will continue its downward trend in the short run.

As for PV contract price, manufacturers now make alterations to the polysilicon contracts in response to the fast changing market. According to EnergyTrend, a number of surveyed manufacturers now provide provisory clause for buyers to choose between negotiable or non-negotiable contracts and the price difference is between $5/kg~$10/kg. Furthermore, there are short term contracts for module recently, but they are more focused on low quantity with reasonable prices. The contract prices of solar cell and Si wafer tended to follow the spot price, which caused a sharp price decrease in the upstream sector of the PV industry. The polysilicon contract price has slumped by 14.25% to $55.2/kg; the multi-Si wafer contract price has collapsed by 23.9% to $2.283/piece; the solar cell contract price fallen by 19.22 to $0.853/Watt; and module price has decreased merely by 3.13% to $1.455/Watt.

EnergyTrend believes that the capital market condition, recovery of German and Italian markets, and growth of Chinese and American markets will determine the market trend of 2H11. Since the demand in PV industry is closely tied to the financial market, the European debt crisis and the US Fed’s QE2 policy will affect the whole economic perspective and money flow which in turn affects market demand of 2H11. On the other hand, some manufacturers’ capacity utilization has recovered. However, since the total demand has not picked up in the PV supply chain, EnergyTrend believes that the market still signals a mixed message. Although top-tier manufacturers indicated the recovery has occurred, second-tier manufacturers’ capacity utilization ratio is the key indicator to determine whether the market demand will trend upward in the later half of 2011.

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