TrendForce: Decreasing PV Orders and Prices Portend Weaker-than-Expected Solar Market in August

published: 2012-07-19 10:17 | editor: | category: Price Trend

According to EnergyTrend, TrendForce’s green energy division, although manufacturers have received a satisfactory amount of orders for July, vendors indicate August orders have decreased significantly due to PV subsidy policy changes in Europe. Furthermore, spot prices are showing a downtrend and EnergyTrend expects August price for products with 17-17.2% efficiency will fall below US$0.45/Watt, while 16.8-17% efficiency products will see prices lower than US$0.4/Watt.

Source: EnergyTrend

Shrinking PV subsidies in Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, etc. are affecting European clients’ operations; industry vendors indicate that as the bear market in Europe has resulted in sluggish business for some clients, August orders have decreased significantly. Furthermore, as the European market is expected to see sluggish growth in the second half of the year, manufacturers’ recent price quotes have shown considerable decline. Price quotes for 17% efficiency products have fallen to US$0.45/Watt, while 16.8% efficiency product price may fall below US$0.4/Watt; the rapid price decline has put clients in wait-and-see mode. Normally, August order negotiations should already be underway, but talks have been delayed. Suppliers indicate the extent of order decreases is unclear as of yet, but details will emerge towards the end of July.

As demand is falling on the European market and emerging market demand is not climbing rapidly enough to make up for the decrease in Europe, manufacturers have cut their capacity utilization rates significantly. According to TrendForce research, top manufacturers are currently using approximately 70 to 80% of total capacity, while second and third-tier makers are producing at around 60% capacity. While suppliers have high hopes for the Japanese PV market, demand growth will take time; at present, only a portion of manufacturers will be able to benefit from Japanese solar market growth to the point that they can maintain capacity.

This week’s spot prices fluctuated as suppliers were aggressive towards shipments due to the bleak market outlook. The majority of polysilicon deals were conducted in the US$20-21/kg range. The four major manufacturers saw prices arrive at US$19.5/kg, indication that suppliers are eager to clear inventory, no longer insisting on a bottom line for spot prices. Polysilicon prices continued to show a mild downtrend this week, with average price arriving at US$20.885/kg, a 0.76% decrease. As for silicon wafers, although the majority of manufacturers’ July capacity is already accounted for, some makers saw price adjustments due to the sluggish market, which resulted in a slight downtrend. Average multi-Si wafer price was US$1.062/piece, a 0.19% decrease. Average mono-Si wafer price, still suffering the double impact from weak demand and high-efficiency products, fell by 0.27% to US$1.466/piece. Average solar cell and module price dropped to US$1.466/piece, a 0.27% decrease. As for solar cells and modules, the gloomy outlook for the European market resulted in a significant price decrease this week; average solar cell and module price fell to US$0.458/Watt and US$0.744/Watt, respectively, representing decreases of 1.08% and 0.13%. Thin film products, affected by weak market demand and declining silicon module price, also saw a decreasing price trend; average price fell to US$0.712/Watt, a 1.25% reduction.

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