Solar PV price trend during the first week of 2016 has a wait-and-see attitude because most orders for January were dealt in last December and quotes for February will not be reported until mid-January. The major variable to future quotes is the industrial accident happened to DOWA Hightech, a Japan-based global supplier of silver powder for conductive pastes. The manufacturing facility has suspended all production lines after the accident hit, it remained unclear if the PV cell producing and delivery for next month would be influenced.
Spot prices of multi-si wafer climbed rapidly last month, and PV cell manufacturers across the Taiwan Strait ultimately accepted the raise. Most high-efficiency multi-si wafers were sold by prices between US$0.88/pc and US$0.90/pc. In China, the price raise was also significant although some vertically-integrated companies can enjoy economical products secured for longer periods. It was reported that the spot price has reached RMB 6.6~6.8/pc in January. Nonetheless, the price raise seems to be restricted in February because it is less likely for the PV cell sector to increase the selling prices. Prices of mono-si wafers, which were almost at the same level to multi-si wafers, also limited the price raise in near future.
In contrast to multi-si wafer’s prices climb, mono-si wafer makers aim to expand their market shares by reducing the price gap between mono-si and multi-si wafers. As the price trend of multi-si wafers will go stable, EnergyTrend believes that the future spot price for mono-si wafers will remain the same or slightly decrease at a level of approximately US$0.89/pc. It is less possible for mono-si wafer makers to raise the price.
As for PV cell sector, the quotes for January increased only by a small scale. For orders for February, EnergyTrend found many manufacturers did not expect any huge price jump. The Chinese New Year Holiday is a traditional off-peak period for Chinese and Taiwanese industries so that the demand will be too flat for spot price to climb. On the other hand, PV module manufacturers will become reluctant to accept even higher PV cell prices during the off-peak period. Overall, the Taiwan-made PV cells were mostly traded by US$0.34~0.345/watt, yet the price level was unable to reflect the price raise of multi-si wafers.
Besides, the manufacturing suspension period of DOWA has not be decided yet so paste and PV cell makers are evaluating necessity to find substitutes for the upper stream raw materials. The future PV cell manufacturing and delivery will be impacted if it took a long period for DOWA to restart operation.
Demand to PV modules was still strong due to installation boom in China, bringing quote increase. However, the real spot prices were at around US$0.52/watt. Such a spot price is expected to remain until the Chines New Year Holiday in early-to-mid February.