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Electronics Production | September 21, 2011

GLC & Foxconn join forces

Based on the current state of the solar energy market, the global demand outlook for Q4 is not optimistic. Currently, inventory levels for the European market continues to increase, and demand was not as high as expected from the China and Japan markets.
Therefore, manufacturers are eager to adjust their stock levels. According to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, as raw material makers are continually stuffing inventory to downstream clients, manufacturers are focused on clearing their stock, to the extent that some vendors expressed that this was their number one priority. This situation will cause market price quotes to continue decreasing, and as a result, the spot market is in a state of disorder.

As for raw materials, according to EnergyTrend, demand from downstream manufacturers has not increased, but shipments from upstream polysilicon makers have not ceased, creating immense pressure for Si-wafer and solar cell manufacturers in terms of inventory levels. In order to decrease losses, both sellers and buyers continue with price and supply negotiations.

Some manufacturers are cutting their losses and ending contracts to ease inventory pressure, but the majority of makers are unloading their excess inventory on the spot market. This has caused polysilicon price to continue falling. Upstream polysilicon manufacturers, protected by long-term contracts, will continue to enjoy acceptable prices and profits in the short-term.

However, when the price difference becomes too large, manufacturers will have to adjust their long-term contracts, which will in turn negatively affect polysilicon makers. According to EnergyTrend research, polysilicon price for this week approached the USD 40/kg threshold. Current ASP is USD 48.61/kg, representing a 1.56% decrease.

As for Si wafer, solar cell, and PV module, the price survey also showed a decline. The lowest price of multi-Si wafer almost reached USD 1.7/piece and mono-Si wafer price fell to USD 2.0/piece. On the other hand, the lowest price of multi-Si solar cell has come to USD 0.67/Watt, and that of mono-Si solar cell has declined to USD 0.72/Watt as well.

The Si wafer price has also exhibited significant decline this week. The average multi-Si wafer price dropped by 2.81% to USD 1.871/piece while the average mono-Si wafer price has fallen 2.29% to USD 2.435/piece. Furthermore, the average solar cell price has slightly declined by 0.42% to USD 0.717/Watt. The average price of thin-film has declined by 0.54% to USD 0.927/Watt.

In terms of the PV market perspective, since the global solar market has entered the state of severe price competition and low margins, if GCL and Foxconn's joint effort to manufacture solar cell and module materializes, it is estimated that they will rapidly gain a considerable market share over cost advantage.

As a result , solar cell and module manufacturers might face considerable competitive pressure. EnergyTrend indicated that it might accelerate the speed of the global solar industry restructuring, and only the manufacturers with competitives advantages--low manufacturing cost and technology--will be able to survive.

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