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Business | July 03, 2012

Challenging p-type mono-wafer market

While demand is recovering for PV industry orders in the second half of the year, price has yet to see a strong rebound, and vendors are placing more priority on unit price (USD/Watt) – to the extent that top-tier PV manufacturers are being meticulous down to the thousandths.
Furthermore, as high-efficiency multi-Si wafers continue to improve and market price drops rapidly, the price to performance ratio for the product category has already surpassed that of traditional p-type mono-Si wafers. Industry vendors indicate, as the quality of high-efficiency multi-Si wafer products (including traditional high-efficiency and mono-like products) continues to improve, the p-type mono-Si wafer market will likely be eliminated.

Currently, efficiency for high-efficiency multi-wafer products is over 17.8%, while p-type mono-wafer efficiency is above 20%. In terms of raw material price, TrendForce data indicates that average price for high-efficiency multi-Si wafer and p-type mono-wafer products is around US$1.17/piece and US$1.48/piece, respectively. Looking at unit price, p-type mono-wafer products are still more expensive than high-efficiency multi-Si wafer products.

Therefore, aside from specific customizations (color, wattage, etc.), TrendForce believes high-efficiency multi-Si wafer products will gradually cannibalize the p-type mono-wafer market. Based on mono-wafer shipment volumes, p-type products are still the mainstream at present. In addition to the impact from recent exchange rates, declining p-type product price has resulted in the continual downtrend of mono-Si wafer price.

As for this week’s price trends, manufacturers are beginning July negotiations, but vendors indicate if July prices increase, manufacturers will be under a fair amount of pressure, module vendors in particular as prices have not recovered – the uptrend for wafer and solar cell price has stalled.

This week’s polysilicon prices fell in the US$20-22/kg range, while average price fell by 0.91% to US$21.22/kg. The multi-Si wafer price trend stayed flat this week as makers began July negotiations, with average price remaining at US$1.071/piece. Mono-Si wafer price, with double impact from the exchange rate and high-efficiency multi-wafer products, fell to a low of US$1.4/piece, while average price was US$1.485/piece, a decrease of 1.66%.

As for solar cells, manufacturers are discussing July prices with clients and suppliers, resulting in fluctuations. Average solar cell price arrived at US$0.465/Watt, a decline of 0.21%. As for thin film products, with many manufacturers declaring bankruptcy or restructuring, and some makers selling at prices far lower than the market price, the market was in a bit of chaos, and average price fell by 1.9% to US$0.721/Watt.

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