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Water Scarcity Issue in Taiwan Boosts Local PV Cell Production Costs

published: 2015-04-16 17:48

Water scarcity issue in Taiwan has begun to affect some of the local cell manufacturers. If cell manufacturers decide to purchase water, cell production costs will increase.

This week, polysilicon prices remained low due to less polysilicon shipment. But the overall supply chain prices are expected to turn stable. In order to avoid high inventory level, some Chinese polysilicon makers have planned to reduce capacities. Three to four of them may conduct maintenance during this time. Basically, monthly capacity will lower about 400-1000 tons, but it will have limited effect on polysilicon suppliers. Meanwhile, Chinese manufacturers have started to receive more wafer orders, leading to stable wafer supply and demand. As tier-one wafer makers refuse to lower the prices further, Chinese makers hope to raise the prices after demand increases.

Due to water scarcity issues, some Taiwan manufacturers were forced to reduce capacities or suspend productions on the days of water outage. If water scarcity issues continue to worsen, some cell manufacturers may have to purchase additional water. However, current water prices have doubled or tripled, hence, even if manufacturers purchase water, they still can’t run at full capacity, leading to higher unit production costs. EnergyTrend projected that Taiwan cell production cost will increase 3%-5% if severe water shortage occurs later on. Therefore, Taiwan manufacturers must be aware of whether the situation gets worse or not. In the meantime, although manufacturers have considered raising cell prices to reflect the costs, prices may not go up. Chinese cell manufacturers have been trying to raise multi-si cell prices following the uptick in demand. Yet, they haven’t actually done so as the situation remains unstable. Chinese cell prices may reflect an uptrend if costs will go up and demand will increase in the future.

Mono-si module demand was weaker, with the prices reflecting a downtrend. Multi-si module’s power plant demand increased, leading to stable prices. Overall, module manufacturers are positive about the future market trend. Some module manufacturers indicated that they believe demand will grow significantly after Shanghai SNEC.

This Week’s Spot Prices

Although manufacturers chose not to stock up, polysilicon prices still dropped 0.6% to US$16.6/kg; Super high-efficiency multi-si wafer prices came to US$0.895/piece, while high-efficiency multi-si wafer remained flat at US$0.848/piece; Average price of mono-si wafer dropped to US$1.045/piece; Multi-si cell prices in Taiwan declined 1.01% to US$0.295/w and that in China was at US$0.29/w; High-efficiency multi-si cell prices decreased 0.97% to US$0.305/w; 250W multi-si module prices stayed flat at US$0.548/w, with 265W mono-si module dropping 0.49% to US$0.606/w.

Photo Source: Million Rooftop PVs

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