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08
August
2012
TrendForce

TrendForce: Orders yet to reflect potential demand

As European economic outlook remains stagnant, the industry hoped European Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Meeting held in early August could come up with a solution for the European debt crisis.
However, ECB did not lower the interest rate as expected, nor did it announce a specific policy, which ushered in uncertainty for the European economy. Solar industry, by its very nature, relies heavily on the government subsidies.

Therefore, the industry is severely affected by the sluggish outlook. According to EnergyTrend, the green energy division of TrendForce, certain investment projects in Europe have been either postponed or come to a halt due to lack of fund.

Based on the statistics, growth momentum for European market in 1H12 was still there – the 1H12 solar installed capacity for Germany reached 4.3GW. Moreover, due to the climbing electricity price and declining solar system cost in Europe, certain areas of Germany and southern Europe have reached grid parity. Solar power prices in certain regions are reaching grid parity as the solar power generation cost continues to drop, which will trigger demand for replacement energies. However, under the current economic circumstances, the actual orders have yet to reflect the potential demand.

Related manufacturers noted that although certain areas in Europe have achieved grid parity, the industry is still pessimistic about the 2H12 outlook for the European market due to the bleak economy and the fact that banks now hold tighter to the funds. Related companies indicated that growth momentum for the European market may not pick up in the short run due to the current downturn, but once the economy begins to look up, Europe may see a sharp upswing on account of solar grid parity.

For this week, although the demand slump has caused the spot prices to continue plummeting, related firms still refused to give up their price limits. As a result, the prices stayed flat. Polysilicon spot prices among major manufacturers remained above $20/kg.

Even though certain distributors offered prices below $20/kg, the clients noted quality remains their first priority, and they will only place orders on the top four makers. Polysilicon ASP slid to $20.607/kg as the downtrend curbed and yet persisted, a decrease of 0.28%. As for silicon wafers, multi-Si spot prices stayed flat, and the price gap between high-efficiency products and standard ones remained unchanged.

As for mono-Si wafers, due to the fact that products with 18%-18.3% efficiency have started to lose their edge, manufacturers began to take a more aggressive stance, which caused ASP to dip to $1.403/piece, a 1.41% decrease. As for solar cells and modules, given the rumors about Chinese manufacturers’ rising inventory levels and the potential threat from the on-going solar trade investigation, the solar cell spot price has plunged to $0.38/Watt, with ASP dipping to $0.426/Watt, a 1.16% decrease. Module ASP fell to $0.736/Watt, a 0.67% decrease, due to the rising inventory level.
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