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PV Thin-Film Makers Seize North America Market Share Due to the US-China Trade War

published: 2014-08-08 9:17

After the US announced its preliminary determination on the CVD and AD duty, PV makers in both China and Taiwan have been confronted by high tariff rates. Module and cell prices shipped to the US have started to increase substantially, and thus led to solar investment cost uptick in North America. However, thin-film products were not covered in the investigation this time. Therefore, North America will have great potential for thin-film makers, according to EnergyTrend, a subsidiary of TrendForce.

“Aside from First Solar, other thin-film manufacturers that focus on CIGS technology have aggressively seized market shares in North America, hoping to increase CIGS market shares in the global PV market,” said Arthur Hsu, research manager of EnergyTrend. Solar Frontier, a leading CIGS manufacturer, has already activated its global strategy deployment. The company revealed its products for mass production in Intersolar North America, surpassing industry standard, and also came up with corresponding solutions toward demand in North America. Meanwhile, Hanergy aimed at distributed PV applications. Through mergers and acquisitions, Hanergy could accumulate relevant patent and technology know-how in a fast-pace. In addition, the company built partnership with Tesla, a leading EV brand in North America.

“Current price quotes of CIGS products in Europe and USA are around US$0.75/watt. Compared to the previous price quotes of si-base modules – US$0.65/watt, the price difference is about 15.4% and about 4% in terms of conversion efficiency difference. After the US’s preliminary determination on the CVD and AD duty was announced, si-base module costs increased 35%-49%. Furthermore, the amount of power generated by thin-film products is about 10% higher than si-base products (under the same scale). Thus, when it comes to power generation costs, CIGS products have better competitiveness and that’s why Solar Frontier and Hanergy are beneficial from the investigation this time,” added Hsu.

This Week’s Price Quotes

Due to the excess inventory, market prices continued to drop. Polysilicon prices came to US$20.417/kg, up 0.08%. High-efficiency multi-si wafer prices dropped 0.21% to US$0.95/piece. Mono-si wafer prices fluctuated and declined 0.17% to US$1.175/piece. Overall market demand remained weak for cells. Pressured by high level of inventory, cell prices came to US$0.338/watt, down 1.8%. In terms of Chinese cell manufacturers, pressured by both Chinese and overseas demands, Chinese cell prices dropped 0.9% to US$0.331/watt, added EnergyTrend.

(Photo Credit: Commons Wikimedia)

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