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Q2 Earnings Reveal Key Trends Across the Solar Industry Chain

published: 2024-07-11 17:40

The mainstream concluded price for mono recharge polysilicon is RMB 34/KG, while mono dense polysilicon is priced at RMB 32/KG and N-type polysilicon is currently priced at RMB 38/KG.

This week, trading activities in the polysilicon sector have been sluggish, and low operation rates among ingot manufacturers are also affecting polysilicon transactions. In terms of supply and demand dynamics, the polysilicon market has gradually moved into surplus since the beginning of 2024 as new capacity has come online, driving down prices. In the second half of 2024, following significant losses in the previous quarter, most producers plan to undertake maintenance, lower their operation rates, or phase out old capacity. Currently, the supply-demand gap has been bridged, and polysilicon prices have already hit rock bottom.

Additionally, the "Specifications for the Photovoltaic Manufacturing Industry" have been revised again, raising the minimum capital ratio for new and expanded photovoltaic manufacturing projects to 30%. Considering producers' cash flow and profits, it is expected that polysilicon projects under construction or planned may be postponed from the second half of 2024 onward.

Regarding profitability, by the end of the first half of 2024, TrendForce estimates that polysilicon losses are between 10 to 15 yuan per KG and 0.02 to 0.04 yuan per W. The peak season and lower silicon industry costs may recover some losses, but polysilicon producers will still face challenges. In conclusion, polysilicon prices remained stable this week and are expected to stay unchanged in the near future.

The mainstream concluded price for M10 P-type wafer is RMB 1.20/Pc, while G12 P-type wafer is priced at RMB 1.75/Pc. The mainstream concluded price for M10 N-type wafer is RMB 1.10/Pc and G12 N-type is RMB 1.65/Pc. The mainstream concluded price for N-type G12R wafers is RMB 1.45/Pc.

This week, the production of 182mm wafers declined, and producers are showing a greater willingness to raise prices. However, high inventory levels of 18X wafers are affecting G10L prices. The supply-demand imbalance is even more pronounced for 210 series wafers. Some producers predict increased demand for 210(R) cells and modules, prompting them to adjust their production ratios. This shift is further destabilizing the supply-demand balance for 210 series wafers, putting additional pressure on prices.

By the end of the second half of 2024, as capacity across all segments reaches the TW level, producers are engaged in a zero-sum game across sectors. Supply, demand, and inventory levels have become crucial for bargaining power. The supply-demand ratio in the wafer sector has declined from 1.5-1.8 at the beginning of 2024 to 1.1 in June. This drop is a primary reason for the decline in wafer prices. High inventory levels also pose a significant barrier to price increases.

Looking ahead to the second half of 2024, given current losses and mixed expectations for the solar industry, capacity expansion projects are likely to be delayed. Integrated producers, having suffered more during this period of surplus capacity, will likely adjust their strategies. Leading specialized producers will accelerate changes to capture more market share from other producers. In the short term, wafer prices are unlikely to rebound, and producers will need to use their cash flow to recover losses.

In terms of profitability, losses for N-type wafers range from 0.04-0.05 yuan/W. Depreciation costs are increasing as some manufacturers adjust their utilization rates, potentially leading to greater losses. Additionally, the draft Specifications for the Photovoltaic Manufacturing Industry (2024 Edition) propose higher requirements for HJT and TOPCon wafers. In the future, if orders for HJT wafers increase, their prices may differ from those of TOPCon wafers.

The mainstream concluded price for M10 cell is RMB 0.300/W, while G12 cell is priced at RMB 0.320/W. The price of M10 mono TOPCon cell is RMB 0.30/W, while that of G12 mono TOPCon cell is RMB 0.35/W.

This week, module prices are chaotic as producers cut production and deplete inventory, making these the main tasks for July. Orders for some tier-2 and tier-3 manufacturers have dropped significantly, causing cash flow problems. In response, these producers are attempting to secure more orders by offering lower OEM prices, and some, facing financial difficulties, are even lowering cell prices to pay off debt. As a result, cell prices in the market have become highly diversified and chaotic, with extremely low prices appearing.

Meanwhile, the decline in orders is providing less support for cell prices, putting them under additional pressure. The supply-to-demand ratio in the cell sector remains at a reasonable 1.1-1.5. Therefore, cell producers are experiencing the lowest losses compared to those in the wafer and polysilicon sectors.

Specialized producers emphasize that non-silicon cost and quality are crucial. However, super low wafer prices in the first half of 2024 have impacted these core factors. Declining polysilicon prices are also undermining the advantages of non-silicon costs and process quality. Due to dual distribution modes, cell producers have been forced into a price war.

Looking at the performance of producers in the first half of 2024, even leading producers have suffered losses. In the second half of 2024, profits in the cell sector will depend on the upstream sectors. Only a rebound in wafer prices will reveal the non-silicon cost gap among cell producers, leading to stable cell prices. In terms of profits, both integrated and specialized producers are selling cells below cost. Integrated cell producers are losing 0.04 yuan/W, while specialized producers are losing 0.03 yuan/W.

The mainstream concluded price for 182mm facial mono PERC module is RMB 0.80/W, 210mm facial mono PERC module is priced at RMB 0.82/W, 182mm bifacial glass PERC module at RMB 0.82/W, and 210mm bifacial glass PERC module at RMB 0.84/W. The mainstream concluded price for 182mm bifacial TOPCon modules is RMB 0.86/W, and 210mm bifacial HJT modules at RMB 1.00/W.

Module prices are in turmoil this week. The reshoring of modules, lower prices due to increased shipments, and other factors are impacting market prices. Despite these fluctuations, prices remain uniformly low, significantly affecting the average price in the module sector. Stagnant installations in the domestic solar industry have led to intense competition for distributed solar installation modules. With weakening demand and high inventory levels, producers are rushing shipments.

For ground-based power plants, N-type modules have dominated the market based on bids in the first half of 2024. However, bid prices are declining month by month. Leading manufacturers are maintaining their prices around 0.78 yuan/W, while other producers looking to clear inventory are dropping prices to around 0.7-0.73 yuan/W. Both integrated and specialized module producers are suffering significant losses, and if they cannot clear their TW capacity, avoiding further losses will be challenging.

In the short term, cash flow is crucial for survival. Accelerating the construction of bases outside Southeast Asia to increase high-premium orders in the U.S. market is also a key strategy. In Europe, the approaching summer vacation has led to a noticeable drop in overseas orders for Q3. Given the lower customer demand, the quickest way to recover losses is through a rebound in raw material prices to support module prices from the cost side.

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