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Cell Profitability Significantly Recovered As Modules Experience Declination in Prices of Upstream Materials and Components

published: 2023-05-11 16:19


Polysilicon prices continued to fall after the Labor Day holiday. Quotations for this update comprise of prices over the past two weeks, and indicate a slightly expanded reduction on the whole, where mono-Si compound feedings and mono-Si dense materials were concluded at a respective mainstream price of RMB 158/kg and RMB 155/kg. Market transactions have turned sluggish, while downstream wafer businesses, in the hope of avoiding losses from price drops of polysilicon, are attempting to lower their stocking of polysilicon inventory by switching the frequency of negotiations from a monthly basis to a weekly basis. Simultaneously, the currently ramping up output of polysilicon is weakening the price protection of polysilicon businesses, where some businesses are even dumping their stocks, which accelerated the drop of prices this week. In addition, the instable product quality induced by the ramp-up phase of businesses has led to an increase in low-quality polysilicon, and created an apparent price difference compared to high-quality polysilicon. Polysilicon prices are expected to remain on the declining slope subsequently.


Under the guidance of leading wafer businesses, wafer prices have dropped consecutively for nearly two weeks, where M10 and G12 are now concluded at a respective mainstream price of RMB 5.4/pc and RMB 7.4/pc. Zhonghuan, after LONGi’s announcement of an approximate 3% price drop in wafers, has also recently announced a reduction of more than 8% for its wafer prices. Wafers are now starting to drop in prices under the guidance of leading wafer businesses, and the mentality regarding implementing procurement when there is a rise, not a fall, has led to relatively sluggish market transactions. With the cell segment still showing cautiousness towards purchases, wafers have been experiencing difficulties in shipment, followed by a continuously piling up of inventory. Combining with the on-going drop of upstream polysilicon prices, wafer prices will not suspend in decrement within the short term.


Cell prices had also dropped after the Labor Day Holiday, where M10 and G12 cells are now concluded at a respective mainstream price of RMB 1.04/W and RMB 1.1/W. The continuous reduction of upstream polysilicon and wafer prices, together with the incessant price suppression among downstream module makers, had prompted cell prices to also drop by a certain margin this week. However, the relatively balanced supply and demand of cells have avoided a drop as large as that of the upstream sector, and managed to retain partial profitability among cell businesses. The steady reduction of upstream cost, as well as the price inhibition among module makers, could still lead to further drop of cell prices, though the degree of decrement could be somewhat slower due to the equilibrium in market activities between upstream and downstream sectors for the cell segment. Due to a gradual increase in market transactions for TOPCon cells, M10 mono-Si TOPCon cell prices were added this week, with a current mainstream market price sitting at about RMB 1.18/W.


Module prices saw no changes before and after the Labor Day holiday, where 182 & 210 mono-Si single-sided PERC modules are now respectively concluded at RMB 1.67/W and RMB 1.68/W, while 182 & 210 bifacial double-glass mono-Si PERC modules are respectively priced at RMB 1.69/W and RMB 1.7/W.

The price reduction from various segments of the upstream industry chain has yet to transmit to the module segment due to the retention of most profitability for the cell segment that has prevented a large price decrement from happening on the one hand, as well as how the arrival of a traditional peak season for the PV industry has provided a mental support for some businesses on the other hand. Overall production schedules for modules have slightly risen in May, and the end sector is still adhering to the price suppressing approach, while overseas demand is maintaining robustness on a continual basis. Comprehensively speaking, module prices are expected to remain sturdy within the short term since first-tier module makers are inclined on stabilizing their prices.

In terms of auxiliary materials, glass prices had maintained stability this week, where 3.2mm and 2.0mm glass were respectively priced at RMB 26/㎡ and roughly RMB 18.5/㎡. A new furnace was ignited in May that has somewhat increased the capacity of PV glass, and overall operating rate is sitting at about 70%, with relatively stable purchase orders of modules. PV glass prices are expected to remain stabilized subsequently.

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