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Stronger Market Demand May Sustain PV Silicon Wafer’s Prices in 2Q

published: 2014-05-15 18:00

Market demands to PV silicon wafers may remain stable as many manufacturers have reported growing monthly revenues. Meanwhile, demands also increased because of the postponement of US DoC’s initial verdict for anti-dumping duties. Stronger Chinese maker shipments, high shipment volume in the Japanese market, and improved economy condition in Europe are also helpful to the PV silicon wafer prices in the second quarter.

“Quotations for polysilicon wafers will remain around US$1.0/piece as efficiency of PV cells made by Chinese manufacturers improves,” says Arthur Hsu, research manager of EnergyTrend. “They may upgrade the cell efficiency to 17.6% and make it the mainstream standard.” Therefore, the high efficiency poly-silicon wafer’s price would remain above US$1.0/piece. He also added that the price may continue to increase as long as the demands to rooftop PV system are better than anticipated in the 2H 2014. However, the price is not likely to exceed US$1.05/piece.

Mono-silicon wafer’s quote, which would fall between US$1.2/piece and US$1.25/piece, remains almost the same in the 2Q because of the relatively simple supply and demand situation. Nonetheless, shipment of mono-silicon cells would affect mono-silicon wafer’s price trends down the road. At the moment, the 2014 projection is that mono-silicon cells will take up 15% to 20% of the total market share of cells with the majority of the shipments concentrated in the 2H 2014. Arthur Hsu presents two scenarios: first, when mono-silicon cells’ shipment represents more than 20% of the total cell shipment, there will be a supply shortage of mono-silicon wafer and may drive the price to above US$1.25/piece. On the contrary, if the mono-silicon cells’ shipment shares less than 15% of the total shipment, the price might stay at around US$1.2/piece due to sufficient supply.

In addition, demands to normal-grade products would remain unchanged due to greater demands from Chinese and Japanese manufacturers and increasing needs from emerging markets. Cell manufacturers are also improving cell efficiency to reduce the demand for wafer’s quality, and this helps to maintain normal-grade products’ prices between US$0.95/piece and US$1.0/piece, estimated EnergyTrend.

This Week’s Price Quotes

This week, poly-silicon wafer’s price slightly decreased by 0.1% to US$1.005/piece. Meanwhile, PV cells’ price decreased by 0.59% to US$0.379/watt as a result of:  1) stock clearance of cells with 17.4% efficiency due to transition period of cell products and 2) psychological anticipation from the US-China solar trade war, which speeds up Chinese manufacturer’s shipment delivery to the U.S.. PV modules’ quotation also dropped by 0.65% to US$0.614/watt because of changes in markets.

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