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Module Profitability Diminishes amidst Continuous Inflation of Upstream Module Prices

published: 2022-03-10 15:50


Polysilicon has surged for six consecutive weeks, and now arrived at roughly RMB 246/kg in overall mono polysilicon quotation under an increase of 0.82% from last week. Wafer businesses are carrying on with their thriving demand for polysilicon under the support from anticipated demand and inflation, where partial wafer businesses have now completed signing for their long-term orders of March. Due to the existing excess demand status, there has been a small amount of signed April orders, with mainstream prices being essentially constant, and number of sporadic orders elevating in prices.

An observation on the production, operation, and shipment of the polysilicon sector indicates that one out of the 13 domestic multi-Si businesses is currently implementing an overhaul for individual production lines, and polysilicon import is expected to somewhat drop in March due to overhaul and shipping factors for two overseas polysilicon businesses. Polysilicon prices are estimated to remain on a steady ascension in late-March with an insignificant level of excess products available on the market after the conclusion of signing for most long-term orders, and partial sporadic and urgent orders pulling the market prices from their concluded prices.


Wafer prices continued to rise this week, with various extents among different sizes. Longi has recently announced yet another increase of wafer prices, where 182mm wafers have risen by RMB 0.2/W under an increment of 3.08% compared to the quotation last month (February 22nd). Most wafer businesses are following up on the upward adjustment by the industry leader, and overall market transactions remain relatively smooth after inflation. M6, M10, and G12 have respectively risen to approximately RMB 5.45/pc, RMB 6.64/pc (an increase of 2.15%), and RMB 8.75/pc in mainstream concluded prices. End demand has been incessant after Chinese New Year, and the market has yet to decelerate in procurement for wafers and cells. Cell businesses have amplified in wafer demand, whereas wafer businesses that were previously affected by the pandemic have now resumed operation and are gradually climbing in production. Coupled with a constrained level of polysilicon supply, the restricted output and the excess demand status have provided marginal support to the prices. Wafer prices are still able to increase by a further extent within the short term.


Cell prices had slightly increased this week, where mono-Si M6, M10, and G12 cells rose to roughly RMB 1.1/W, RMB 1.14/W (increase of approximately 1.79%), and RMB 1.15/W in respective concluded prices. Tongwei, after raising its cell prices last week, had once again elevated the corresponding prices this week, where mono-Si PERC 182 and 210mm cells are now quoted at RMB 1.15/W (increase of RMB 0.01/W) and RMB 1.16/W (increase of RMB 0.02/W). The stocking demand for cells and modules continues with the gradual initiation of domestic projects such as large wind and solar power bases, and successive negotiation for new orders is starting to happen in March. Downstream module makers are showing little or no acceptance towards risen cell prices, and a number of them are still on the fence.


Module prices remained sturdy on the whole this week, with mono-Si 166mm, 182mm, and 210mm modules sitting at respective concluded prices of approximately RMB 1.85/W, RMB 1.88/W, and RMB 1.88/W. The 2022 working report of the government points out several targets, including an orderly implementation of carbon neutrality and emission peak, actuation of low carbon and transformation for energy, propulsion of large wind and solar power bases and the corresponding construction of adjustable power plans, and improvement in power grid pertaining to absorptive capacity on power generation through renewable energy. The steady initiation of domestic projects such as the large wind and solar bases has stimulated module demand, which is expected to last until the end of March, despite marginal depletion from overseas demand. Owing to risen upstream prices of the industry chain and auxiliary materials, the cost of modules has now elevated, which further inhibits profitability. As a result, module prices are unlikely to exhibit any significant inflation after taking into account the level of acceptance from end project providers.

In terms of auxiliary materials, glass prices had essentially remained stable this week, where 3.2mm and 2.0mm glasses were respectively at about RMB 27/㎡ and RMB 21/㎡ in mainstream concluded prices this week. PV glasses will continue to maintain stable in prices under relatively sturdy module quotations recently.


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