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PV Prices Continue Dropping Due to Weak Demand and Surplus Supply

published: 2015-03-27 16:36

The first quarter of 2015 is coming to the end, yet spot prices of PV products have been dropping for almost three months. The stock clearance at the end of this quarter and weak demand are mainly blamed for declines of the whole PV supply chain from polysilicon, wafer to cells, according to EnergyTrend’s investigation.

During this week, prices of polysilicon dropped due to surplus supply from high utilization rates as well as stock clearance. Starting from late February, PV demand in Mainland China has shown a downturn so the market has been relatively flat. First-tier PV manufacturers are striving to maintain their utilization rates but are unable to reach the full capacity utilization, not to mention second and third-tier manufacturers. In the meantime, first-tier wafer vendors’ high utilization rates not only led to surplus supply, but also slowed down the steps of wafer stock clearance. With the weak demand, slow stock clearance and high production capacity, both polysilicon and wafers’ prices went declining in March as well as in the entire quarter.

PV vendors’ price strategies further pushed down the product quotes. EnergyTrend finds that wafer and cell manufacturers which have no long-term supply contracts would cut prices when the market demand becomes weaker and raw material prices start to decline. By doing so, they can win more orders. The reduced spot prices would reinforce their rivals to cut prices for competitiveness. Such a situation shows how different manufacturers act among the flat market. In March, spot price of polysilicon has dropped 7%, while price of wafer has decreased 1.7%. The downturn involves in spot prices of PV cells, which has declined 3.2% in the same period. Overall, the spot prices of the whole PV supply chain demonstrate a downward trend this month.

The surplus supply of polysilicon may be fixed in the second quarter, EnergyTrend projects. First, China’s Manual for polysilicon’s deep processing transit will be finalized before the end of June, so polysilicon supply is expected to balance gradually. Second, the raised PV installation target, 17.8GW, is likely to drive new constructions starting from May or June and may consume more polysilicon. According to EnergyTrend’s investigation, PV demand in April seems to be higher than in March. Therefore, it is expected that the market demand will be higher in the second quarter than in the first quarter, stopping the downturn of PV products’ spot prices.

This Week’s Spot Prices

Spot prices of PV products, including polysilicon, mono-si wafer and PV cells, all dropped subsequent to the previous weeks.

The polysilicon stock clearance led to a 5.03% drop to an average price of US$17/kg. In addition, the weak demand and rival price strategies cause super high efficiency multi-si wafer to decrease 0.44% to US$0.895/piece, while the price of high-efficiency multi-si wafer decreased 0.35% down to US$0.852/piece averagely. Likewise, quotes of mono-si wafer declined 0.93% to US$1.06/piece.

High efficiency multi-si PV cells’ quote has dropped 0.95% to US$0.312/w. In Taiwan, spot prices of multi-si cells decreased to US$0.55/w, representing a slight drop of 0.36%. China-made multi-si PV cells’ price was US$0.292/W. Also, quote of 250W multi-si PV modules slightly reduced 0.36% to US$0.55/W and the quote of mono-si modules was US$0.611/W, according to EnergyTrend’s research this week.

(Photo Credit: oregondot via Flickr)

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